Audi AG (Xetra: NSU) is a German manufacturer of a range of automobiles, from supermini to crossover SUVs in various body styles and price ranges that are marketed under the Audi brand (German pronunciation: [?a?di]), positioned as the premium brand within the Volkswagen Group.
The company is headquartered in Ingolstadt, Germany, and has been a wholly owned (99.55%) subsidiary of Volkswagen AG since 1966, following a phased purchase of its predecessor, Auto Union, from its former owner, Daimler-Benz. Volkswagen re launched the Audi brand with the 1965 introduction of the Audi F103 series.
The company name is based on the surname of the founder August Horch, his surname meaning listen in German—which, when translated into Latin, becomes Audi.
Audi AG today
Audi plant in Aurangabad, IndiaThe largest shareholder of Audi AG is Volkswagen AG, which holds over 99 percent of the share capital. Volkswagen AG includes the consolidated accounts of Audi AG in its own consolidated financial statements. In recent years, the possibility of Audi being spun off or otherwise divested by Volkswagen has been mooted.
From 2002 up to 2007, Audi headed the Audi Brand Group, the Volkswagen Group’s automotive sub-division, consisted of Audi together with SEAT and Lamborghini, that was focused on more sporty values, with the marques’ product vehicles and performance being under the higher responsibility of the Audi brand.
Audi’s sales grew strongly in the 2000s, with deliveries to customers increasing from 653,000 in 2000 to 1,003,000 in 2008. The largest sales increases came from Eastern Europe (+19.3%), Africa (+17.2%) and the Middle East (+58.5%). China in particular has become a key market, representing 108,000 out of 705,000 cars delivered in the first three quarters of 2009. One factor for its popularity is China is that Audis have become the car of choice for purchase by the Chinese government for officials, and purchases by the government are responsible for 20% of its sales in China. As of late 2009, Audi’s operating profit of €1.17-billion ($1.85-billion) made it the biggest contributor to parent Volkswagen Group’s nine-month operating profit of €1.5-billion, while the other marques in Group such as Bentley and Seat had suffered considerable losses.
Audi has 6 manufacturing plants around the world: Ingolstadt, Germany since 1969, Neckarsulm, Germany since 1969, Györ, Hungary, Changchun, China since 1995, Brussels, Belgium since 2007, Aurangabad, India since 2006.
Drive layoutIn all its post Volkswagen-era models, Audi has firmly refused to adopt the traditional rear-wheel drive layout favoured by its two arch rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW, favouring either front-wheel drive or all wheel drive. To achieve this, Audi has usually engineered its cars with a longitudinally front mounted engine, in an “overhung” position, over the front wheels in front of the axle line. While this allows for the easy adoption of all wheel drive, it goes against the ideal 50:50 weight distribution (as do all front wheel drive cars).
Audi has recently applied the quattro badge to models such as the A3 and TT which do not use the Torsen-based system as in prior years, with a mechanical centre differential, but with the Swedish Haldex Traction electro-mechanical clutch AWD system.
In the 1980s, Audi, along with Volvo, was the champion of the inline 5 cylinder, 2.1/2.2 L engine as a longer-lasting alternative to more traditional 6 cylinder engines. This engine was used not only in production cars but also in their race cars. The 2.1 L inline 5 cylinder engine was used as a base for the rally cars in the 1980s, providing well over 400 horsepower (298 kW) after modification. Before 1990, there were engines produced with a displacement between 2.0 L and 2.3 L. This range of engine capacity allowed for both fuel economy and power.
Through the early 1990s, Audi began to move shift its target market upscale to compete against German automakers Mercedes-Benz and BMW. This began with the release of the Audi V8 in 1990. It was essentially a new engine fitted to the Audi 100/200, but with noticeable bodywork differences. Most obvious was the new grille that was now incorporated in the bonnet.
By 1991, Audi had the 4 cylinder Audi 80, the 5 cylinder Audi 90 and Audi 100, the turbocharged Audi 200 and the Audi V8. There was also a coupe version of the 80/90 with both 4 and 5 cylinder engines.
Although the five cylinder engine was a successful and robust power plant, it was still a little too different for the target market. With the introduction of an all-new Audi 100 in 1992, Audi introduced a 2.8L V6 engine. This engine was also fitted to a face-lifted Audi 80 (all 80 and 90 models were now badge 80 except for the USA), giving this model a choice of 4, 5, and 6-cylinder engines, in Saloon, Coupé and Cabriolet body styles.
The 5-cylinder was soon dropped as a major engine choice; however, a turbocharged 230 hp (169 kW) version remained. The engine, initially fitted to the 200 Quattro 20V of 1991, was a derivative of the engine fitted to the Sport Quattro. It was fitted to the Audi Coupé, and named the S2 and also to the Audi 100 body, and named the S4. These two models were the beginning of the mass-produced S series of performance cars.
The Audi A8 replaced the V8 in 1994, with an aluminium space frame, known as the “Audi Space Frame” (ASF), to save weight. The weight reduction was offset by the Quattro four-wheel drive system. It meant the car had similar performance to its rivals, but superior road holding. The Audi A2, Audi TT and Audi R8 also use Audi Space Frame designs.
The Audi A2 was a futuristic super mini born from the Al2 concept. It featured many features that gave Audi the cutting edge technology that it had lacked for years, like the aluminium space frame which was a first in production car design. In the A2 Audi further expanded their TDI technology through the use of frugal three cylinder engines. The A2 was extremely aerodynamic and was designed around a wind tunnel. The Audi A2 was criticized for its high price and was never really a sales success but it planted Audi as a cutting edge manufacturer. The model, a Mercedes-Benz A-Class competitor, sold relatively well in Europe. However, the A2 was discontinued in 2005 and Audi decided not to develop an immediate replacement.
The next major model change came in 1995 when the Audi A4 replaced the Audi 80. The new nomenclature scheme was applied to the Audi 100 to become the Audi A6 (with a minor facelift). This also meant the S4 became the S6 and a new S4 was introduced in the A4 body. The S2 was discontinued. The Audi Cabriolet continued on (based on the Audi 80 platform) until 1999, gaining the engine upgrades along the way. A new A3 hatchback model (sharing the Volkswagen Golf Mk4′s platform) was introduced to the range in 1996, and the radical Audi TT coupé and roadster were debuted in 1998 based on the same underpinnings.
The engines available throughout the range were now a 1.4L, 1.6L and 1.8 L 4 cylinders, 1.8L 4-cylinder turbo, 2.6L and 2.8L V6, 2.2L turbo-charged 5 cylinder and the 4.2L V8 engine. The V6s were replaced by new 2.4L and 2.8L 30V V6s in 1998, with marked improvement in power, torque and smoothness. Further engines were added along the way, including a 3.7L V8 and 6.0L W12 engine for the A8.
At the turn of the century, Volkswagen introduced the Direct-Shift Gearbox (DSG), a type of dual clutch transmission. It is an automated semi-automatic transmission, drivable like a conventional automatic transmission. Based on the gearbox found in the Group B S1, the system includes dual electro hydraulically controlled clutches instead of a torque converter. This is implemented in some VW Golfs, Audi A3 and TT models where DSG is called S-tronic.
Fuel Stratified Injection
New models of the A3, A4, A6 and A8 have been introduced, with the aging 1.8 litre engine now having been replaced by new Fuel Stratified Injection (FSI) engines. Nearly every petroleum burning model in the range now incorporates this fuel-saving technology, including the following:
FSI engine. Petrol engines:
1.4 4 cylinder 75 bhp (56 kW; 76 PS)
1.4 litre turbocharged 4 cylinder 125 bhp (93 kW; 127 PS)
1.6 litre 4 cylinder 100 bhp (75 kW; 101 PS) – 102 bhp (76 kW; 103 PS)
1.6 litre 4 cylinder 115 bhp (86 kW; 117 PS) (Slowly being phased out in order to make way for TSI engines – see section below)
1.8 litre turbocharged 4 cylinder 120 bhp (89 kW; 122 PS) – 170 bhp (127 kW; 172 PS)
2.0 litre 4 cylinder 150 bhp (112 kW; 152 PS) (Slowly being phased out in order to make way for TSI engines – see section below)
2.0 litre 4 cylinder 130 bhp (97 kW; 132 PS)
2.0 litre turbocharged 4 cylinder 170 bhp (127 kW; 172 PS) – 272 bhp (203 kW; 276 PS)
2.5 litre turbocharged 5 cylinder 335 bhp (250 kW; 340 PS)
2.8 litre V6 190 bhp
3.0 litre supercharged v6 300 bhp (224 kW; 304 PS) – 333 bhp (248 kW; 338 PS)
3.2 litre V6 265 bhp (198 kW; 269 PS)
4.2 litre V8 350 bhp (261 kW; 355 PS)
4.2 litre V8 414 bhp (309 kW; 420 PS)
5.2 litre V10 435 bhp (324 kW; 441 PS) – 450 bhp (336 kW; 456 PS)
5.2 litre V10 525 bhp
5.0 litre biturbo V10 573 bhp (427 kW; 581 PS)
6.0 litre W12 331 kW (450 PS)
Turbo Diesel Injection (TDI) Engines:
1.4 litre TDI 3 cylinder 75 bhp (56 kW; 76 PS) – 90 bhp (67 kW; 91 PS)
1.6 litre TDI 4 cylinder 90 bhp (67 kW; 91 PS) – 105 bhp (78 kW; 106 PS)
1.9 litre TDI 4 cylinder 90 bhp (67 kW; 91 PS) – 130 bhp (97 kW; 132 PS)
2.0 litre TDI 4 cylinder 120 bhp (89 kW; 122 PS) – 170 bhp (127 kW; 172 PS)
2.5 litre TDI V6 150 bhp (112 kW; 152 PS) – 180 bhp (134 kW; 182 PS)
2.7 litre TDI V6 180 bhp (134 kW; 182 PS)
3.0 litre TDI V6 233 bhp (174 kW; 236 PS)
4.2 litre TDI V8 326 bhp (243 kW; 331 PS)
6.0 litre TDI V12 500 bhp (373 kW; 507 PS) 1,000 N•m (740 ft•lbf)/1750 rpm