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These days, Audi is firmly established as one of the German "Big Three" luxury-car companies, alongside BMW and Mercedes-Benz, so it's somewhat hard to believe that the company's current identity didn't begin to establish itself until 1990. Though it has been around, in one form or another, as a company
since the late 1800s, Audi was always a minor player until Volkswagen bought it in the mid-1960s. It had some success, both in Europe and the U.S, thoughout the 1980s, but mostly existed as a laboratory for VW engines, until the birth of the Audi V8 in 1990. With the appearance of the A4 in 1995, the brand began to form its contemporary identity. Last year, the Audi AG sold more than a million vehicles worldwide. With an entirely new lineup for its top-tier S and RS divisions, it's emerged as not only a luxury standard-bearer, but also a high-performance leader.
Contemporary Audis come with all the trimmings that the best German engineers have to offer, combined with top-of-the-line safety and technology, and anywhere from an above-average luxury trim setup to luxurious pasha accomodations. These are cars at the top of their game. The least expensive way to get into an Audi is via the entry-level A3, available as a five-door hatchback, and soon, for the first time, as a sleek sedan. Audi's most popular model, the A4, is a midsize sport sedan that comes standard with Audi's Quattro All-Wheel Drive system. and is available with a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine or supercharged 3.0-liter V6 in S5 trim. The A4 Coupe lives on as the A5, available in hardtop and convertible variations. The A6 offers a little more leg room powered by the A4 or S4's powerplants, while the S6, a typically Audi combination of high luxury and brutally dynamic drive performance, gains another liter of displacement and two more cylinders for its turbocharged 4.0-liter V8.
The A7 and S7 offer performance, practicality and style in a five-door fastback body with plenty of space in its beautiful interior. For unparalleled luxury, the flagship A8 sedan is available in normal and long-wheelbase versions with full executive packages including a refrigerator and reclining rear seats. The S8 is capable of a mind-blowing zero-to-60 mph sprint in 3.5 seconds; almost incomprehensible for a car of its size and weight.
As all major luxury brands must these days, Audi offers a full line of SUVs, which are less successful than its mainstream road cars: The compact Q5, seven-seat Q7, and the All-Road; ultimately a raised-up A4 wagon.
For all-out hot-driving fun, Audi offers the TT coupe in various configurations, and, sitting atop the Audi catalog, is its halo car, the supercar sweetheart R8. Available with a supercharged V8 or the Lamborghini Gallardo's naturally aspirated V10, the R8 is widely respected as one of the best sports cars of the decade. See more... See Less