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What's The Secret Ingredient That Makes An Audi So Special?

Until you drive one, you may not be able to see why Audi cars are so special.

It seems like most car enthusiasts have a strong opinion about Audi. Unless you're one of those people who thinks that everything from Europe is just expensive and unreliable, you've probably given Audi some thought. We'd like to get some of the negative opinions about Audi out of the way and hopefully debunk some of them. Enthusiasts have always gravitated more towards BMW because it builds RWD-based cars, whereas most Audi cars are based on a FWD platform. You may think this puts Audi at a disadvantage, but you'd be surprised.

It is true that some of the lower trim Audi models do come with FWD, however most of the Audis worth owning come with quattro AWD. The Quattro system really isn't all that different from other AWD systems like Mercedes 4Motion or BMW X-Drive, but clever marketing and a catchy name helped Audi give its system amazing brand recognition. The quattro system derives its name from the Audi Quattro model in 1980, which came with permanent AWD. Audi took the name of its legendary rally-bred car and turned it into a cash goldmine. Audi is the luxury car of choice if you live in a cold climate where it snows frequently. Mercedes and BMW have tried to challenge Audi, but quattro is still dominant.

While quattro is very practical, many enthusiasts have criticized it for being heavy and taking away feel. The BMW M5 was always the super-sedan of choice because it was incredibly fast, had great handling, and could slide around as a RWD car should. However, in recent years, Audi has proved what its RS models could do with incredible quattro grip. The Audi RS6 may be the best example of why quattro is so impressive. It may be a big, heavy wagon, but it can easily embarrass supercars in a drag race. In fact, other manufacturers have realized how good AWD can be. Mercedes has added AWD to its new AMG E-Class and the next BMW M5 should be AWD as well.

Clearly, the German giants have realized that Audi has been on to something all along. Most people who buy these performance luxury cars aren't going to take them to the race track. They just want to be able to prove that their car is fast in a straight line without a high risk of crashing. Audi has consistently built cars that are fast in a straight line, so fast in fact that the company often underrates the horsepower and performance figures. We often take Audi's 0-60 time predictions and throw them out the window because we know that they can perform better. We love the fact that the car you buy is actually faster than the company says, rather than being a disappointment when you try to match the claimed performance.

Other than building cars that are fast in a straight line, Audi also excels at building cars with magnificent luxury and technology. If you appreciate cars that are well-engineered with good quality, then you should probably look at an Audi. We aren't necessarily talking about long-term reliability here (although Audi has greatly improved in this area). What we are referring to is the unmistakable Audi quality that you feel every time you close the door with a satisfying "thoop." After recently driving a 2017 A4, we remember the secret ingredient that makes Audi so special. We drive a lot of cars, and just looking at the specs can make you forget the tangible aspects that make a car great.

Sure the Mercedes C-Class stands out visually and comes with RWD, but when you get into an Audi you remember what makes them so special. Close the door in an Audi, and it's as if you've closed the door to a bank vault. There's a such a tight seal, that the entire outside world gets sucked away when the door closes. Once inside, everything that you touch just feels perfect. BMW interiors can be a bit cheap in places, but an Audi interior just feels right. Even in the base A4 model, there's a bolstered steering wheel which just feels perfect in-hand. You may not think of Audi as the most exciting of the German automakers, but if all you want is a car that makes you feel special, then Audi has you covered.

BMWs have a sportier pedigree and Mercedes may have a longer history, but Audi has proved itself to be a highly technology-focused company, and deserves to be mentioned in the same sentence as its Teutonic brethren.

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