A trip to the city of Ingolstadt in southern Germany would not be complete without paying a visit to Audi’s museum.
Regardless of whether or not you are a petrolhead, the museum, which is a part of Audi’s headquarters in Ingolstadt, is a must-visit for everyone as it is not only a good place to learn about the brand’s history, but also an ideal place to feast one’s eyes with all the beautiful Audis of the past, presence, as well as the future.
That said, we made sure we paid the museum a visit when we visited Ingolstadt for the Audi driving experience last month for a quick history lesson on the brand, and to find out what it has in store for the future.
Upon entering the museum, we had to catch a lift to the third floor and work our way back down through the three floors of history in chronological order.
The brand dates back all the way to 1899, being found by August Horch, who once worked for Karl Benz, the inventor of the first automobile powered by an internal combustion engine.
Horch’s company, which was first known as A.Horch & Co, built the Horch Automobile in 1901. However, after a dispute, the founder left the company in 1909 and set up Horch Automobil-Werke GmbH.
Following a legal dispute over the Horch name, he decided to make another automobile company. (The court decided that Horch was a registered trademark on behalf of August Horch's former partners and August Horch was not entitled to use it any more). Consequently, Horch named his new company Audi Automobilwerke GmbH in the early 1900s. In case you didn’t know, Audi is simply the Latin word for Horch.
Things were fine and dandy for the next 20-odd years until a global economic downturn took place in 1929, which resulted in Audiwerke, Horchewerke, Zschpopauer and DKW merging to form the Auto Union, in an effort to ensure each other’s survival. In fact, the four brands are what represent Audi’s four rings we see today.
So, that is pretty much how the ‘four rings’ were born, and truth be told, the Auto Union came up with some pretty impressive cars back in the days, such as the Type D and the Type C Streamliner which were way ahead of their time.
Further elevating the brand’s reputation were the models that were making waves in the motorsports arena such as the Silver Arrow models, which are among the most epic machinery to ever carry the brand’s name.
While Auto Union made mostly large vehicles up to the 1940s, World War 1 came and changed everything. If we look at the post-war vehicles by Auto Union for instance, the size shrank tremendously and it was all about simplicity.
Vehicles like the 1950 F89 L Schnelllaster were what the world needed while recovering from the war– small, simple, affordable, and practical. Yes, there were still some hip models like the 1000 SP Coupe, but they were still not as flamboyant as what the Auto Union made in the 1930s.
And then, in 1965, Audi became part of the Volkswagen Group and later that year, the Audi 75; the grandfather of all modern Audis was introduced.
After the 75, Audi made great progress over the past four decades under Volkswagen with many models becoming icons of their times, such as the 100, 200, and the legendary quattro among others.
By the time we were done with the cars of the 1980s, we were already making our way to the ground floor, heading towards the car that previewed the brand’s future – the Prologue concept.
Unveiled in 2014, the Prologue concept is powered by a 4.0-litre TFSI V8 engine that is capable of producing 605hp and 750Nm of maximum torque, enabling the car to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.7 seconds.
Equipped with many impressive technologies like Audi’s Quattro four-wheel-drive system, torque vectoring, self-levelling air-suspension with adaptive damping, dynamic all-wheel-steering system, Matrix laser headlamps, Audi Virtual Cockpit, 3 OLED touch-screens, and Audi’s next-generation Multi Media Interface among others, the Prologue previews the next generation Audi A8.
We are not sure how identical the car will be to the Prologue, but looking at the rest of the models in the stable, we can rest assured that it is going to be a head-turner.
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