Vorsprung durch Technik

Focused on the NSU Ro 80, a car that was far ahead of its time, a new advertising slogan was introduced in 1971 that has since become the key message underlining the expertise of the company: “Vorsprung durch Technik”.

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In the spirit of these new guiding principles, the first-generation Audi 80 (B1 series) was launched in 1972, with a glittering array of new technical features such as a new series of OHC engines and self-stabilising steering roll radius. By the time production of this first generation ceased, more than a million cars had been built.

1974 saw the appointment of Ferdinand Piëch as Ludwig Kraus' successor, initially as Head of Technical Development. During the "Piëch era" Audi was transformed into a highly innovative car manufacturer. This period also witnessed the gradual raising of the Audi brand's positioning. The five-cylinder engine (1976), turbocharging (1979) and quattro four-wheel drive (1980) are eloquent testimonies to the success of this policy.

 

quattro

The Audi quattro, which made its debut in March of 1980 at the Geneva Motor Show, represented a quantum leap in the new positioning of the Audi brand on the world stage. The expression “Vorsprung durch Technik” applied quite literally here. Outstanding traction through a permanent four-wheel drive and two manually lockable differentials made the Audi quattro perfect for use on smooth or icy surfaces.

Original Ski Jump Commercial

Technical innovations

Audi's subsequent progress has been marked by a sensational range of technical innovations: fully galvanised bodies, the most aerodynamic volume-built saloon of its time, the extensive use of turbocharged petrol engines, the development of economical direct-injection diesel engines, the aluminium body, the first hybrid vehicles, direct petrol injection and the manufacture of luxury-class cars with eight and twelve-cylinder engines are just some of the many mileposts that document the emergence of the Audi brand as a manufacturer of premium cars.

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