What is today known as the four-ringed German carmaker Audi traces its roots back into the 19th century – August Horch, an automobile engineer, set up his own business, Horch & Cie. Motorwagen Werke, in 1899 after having worked for Carl Benz. However, he left the company in 1909 following differences with the Board of Management and Supervisory Board. Not one to be kept down, Horch immediately established a second car company, Audi, in Zwickau. The name, Latin translation of his surname, was used because Horch was already in use and was also protected by trademark.

However, the four-ring emblem, now synonymous with the name Audi, didn’t come into existence till 1932, when four independent car manufacturers merged to form Auto Union AG. Each of the four rings in the company badge represented the four founder companies, namely, Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer. After the second world war ended, a depot for the company parts was set up in Ingolstadt in 1945. However, following a set of changes, a new company christened Auto Union GmbH was founded in 1949, which then went on to be merged with NSU Motorenwerke AG of Neckarsulm 20 years later in 1969. However the union didn’t finally become AUDI AG until 1985.

The company’s mission statement, Vorsprung durch Technik, though initially coined as an advertising slogan, has genuinely driven and directed the carmaker’s growth. Guided by the new doctrine, its steadily evolving rendezvous with technology was initiated with a new series of OHC engines and self-stabilising steering roll radius in 1972. What followed after that was a series of equally revolutionary technologies: the five-cylinder engine in 1976, turbocharging in 1979, and the revolutionary quattro four-wheel drive in 1980.

Long story short, Audi’s existence has always been marked by a wide range of innovations. Fully galvanised bodies, comprehensive use of turbocharged petrol engines, advancement of economical direct-injection turbocharged diesel engine with fully electronic control, innovative thermal management, direct petrol injection, manufacture of luxury-class cars with eight- and 12-cylinder engines, and Audi Space Frame are only a handful of the many critical points that carved the rise of the Audi brand.

Its cars today stay true to its heritage, building upon the same principles of luxury, avant-garde technology, and superior design. Audi prices in India range between Rs. 29.3 lakh for the A3 saloon to Rs. 2.31 crore for the R8 V10 Plus. Choose from 13 models including the A3, A4, A6, A8 L luxury saloons, the A3 Cabriolet convertible, Q3, Q5 and Q7 SUVs, and the S5, TT, RS 6, RS7 and the R8 sports cars.

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