One of the top luxury automakers worldwide, Audi is a German brand with an interesting backstory. It was founded in 1885 as the Wanderer Company. So, how did it evolve into the premium automaker we know today? We’ll also explain what the brand’s logo means and talk about the latest Audi releases.
Audi’s history: Lots of name changes
Audi is the Latin translation of “Horch,” founder August Horch’s surname. It means “to listen.” Audi AG is a German automaker headquartered in Ingolstadt.
August Horch Automobilwerke GmbH was founded in Germany in 1909 but soon was renamed Audi Automobilwerke. The company merged in 1932 with Horch, DKW, and Wanderer to form Auto Union AG. Auto Union GmbH was set up in 1949 in Ingolstadt after World War II.
By 1958, Daimler-Benz AG acquired Auto Union GmbH, and through the end of 1965, the company operated as a subsidiary of the Daimler Group, based in Stuttgart. Volkswagenwerk acquired most Auto Union GmbH shares in December 1964. So by the end of 1966, Audi became a subsidiary of VW. In 1969, VW took over NSU Motorenwerke AG and merged with Auto Union GmbH to form Audi NSU Auto Union AG.
Fast-forward to March 1980 at the Geneva Motor Show. The Audi Quattro made its debut. The sports coupe was the first high-performance vehicle with a four-wheel-drive configuration. It was the first time a vehicle outside an off-roader or truck used the drive concept. The Quattro won international acclaim for its permanent four-wheel-drive system and eventually became its own model range.
Audi NSU Auto AG became Audi AG in early 1985. The company and its vehicles have had the same name since then.
The Audi logo
In 1928, the engineer Jørgen Rasmussen became the majority owner of shares in Audi. Three years later, the company merged with DKW and Wanderer, owned by Rasmussen, and Audi’s old rival Horch to form the Auto Union. That union of four companies led to the creation of the logo of four interlocking rings.
The logo looks similar to the five Olympic rings. In fact, the International Olympic Committee took the issue to court in 1995. When the court in the carmaker’s favor, the IOC dropped the issue, and the two logos remain to this day.
The automaker’s latest models
Today, Audi continues to release some of the most exciting and innovative passenger vehicles.
The 2021 RS6 Avant is a striking example of the brand’s ongoing auto-making prowess. It’s a bold update on the station wagon that’s based on the A6 Allroad wagon. The RS hot-rod version features distinct styling and exclusive extras.
Under its hood rests a twin-turbo V8 that puts out 591 hp and a satisfying growl. It pairs with a paddle-shifting automatic transmission and the vigorous Quattro all-wheel drive system. According to Car and Driver, the RS6 Avant can roar to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds.
A great deal of excitement surrounds the 2021 Audi e-tron and e-tron Sportback. These all-electric luxury crossovers are innovative with all-wheel-drive powertrains with EPA-estimated driving ranges of up to 222 miles. Their luxurious cabins and refined driving experience make them an appealing choice for moneyed consumers shopping for their next premium vehicle.
Finally, the upcoming 2022 Audi Q4 and Q4 Sportback SUV will expand the brand’s e-tron lineup. According to Car and Driver, The Q4s are smaller than the midsize SUV and will have two electric motors with standard all-wheel drive. They’ll come with an 82-kWh battery pack allowing them to travel up to 280 miles per charge. They’re Audi’s answer to the Tesla Model Y and Volvo XC40.