Audi first came into being on 25th April, 1910, but the company’s roots stretch even further back to a venture started in 1899 by August Horch. The company was originally called ‘A. Horch & Cie’ but was changed to Audi Automobilwerke GmbH Zwickau following a trademark infringement claim by Horch’s former business partners. That same year, the first model under the Audi name, the Type A rolled out of the mechanics garage. In 1932, Audi and three other German carmakers united to form ‘Auto Union’, which became the most immediate predecessor to the Audi brand we recognise today. In all these years, Audi set a benchmark by building cars using the most advance technology available.
Here’s ten of the best Audi ever to grace our roads:
- 1907 Horch 26/65. The 26/65 was released under Audi’s former name ‘A. Horch & Cie’ and it pioneered the six cylinder engine. The midsize cars we know and love today wouldn’t be the same had it not been for Horch’s design and powertrain. This model announced Audi’s arrival at the forefront of car design innovation. To get your hands on a 26/65 today would set you back upwards of £800,000 at auction.
- 1938 Auto Union D-Type. Released in 1938, this edition had a V12 engine that could muster almost 550 hp and used a revolutionary suspension system that offered a far smoother ride to competing vehicles. Despite being tainted by the fact it was a project commissioned by Hitler, the feat of engineering cannot be questioned. A hugely important part of automotive history, at a 2009 auction, bids for the D-Type exceeded £4.5 million.
- 1956 DKW Monza. This pioneering offering set five world records alone in 1956. With a polyester body reinforced with glass fibre, the DKW Monza was very lightweight, and had aerodynamics superior to other models of the time. Very few of this edition are around today, even fewer still in decent condition. Even parts have been known to sell at several thousand pounds a time at auction.
- Audi Quattro (1980-1991). This is the car many car enthusiasts think of, when they think of Audi. This unique offering totally defined what the brand stood for at that particular time: turbocharged engines, all-wheel drive, sporty profiles, and innovative technology. The Quattro was designed to perform at the highest level, and to strengthen the bond between car and driver. Today, first generation Quattro models are still popular collector’s items and can generally be found in running order for around £4,000 or more.
- 1994 RS2 Avant. This is a hatch that was designed to be very fast. It can go from 0 to 30 in 1.5 seconds and 0 to 60 in 4.8 seconds, which beats some modern sports cars being released today. One feature particularly appealing on this model is its all-wheel drive performance. Only sold in Europe, South Africa, Brazil, New Zealand, and Hong Kong the relative rarity of the model adds to the value today for working models. You would expect to pay £14,000 for any such example.
- Ur-TT (1998 to Present). Always synonymous with cutting edge technology and quality engineering, Audi could claim true distinctive styling amongst its associations when it released this attractive offering in the late ‘90s. The Ur-TT placed sharp, aggressive designs at the forefront of Audi’s brand. The TT was a car made to stand out in a crowd, and every subsequent generation has refined the styling even further. A used 1998 Ur-TT will typically cost around £8,000.
- 2000 R8 Le Mans Prototype. Simply one of the best race cars Audi has produced to this date. Of the diesel powered speedster 79 races, it won 63. At an auction in 2012, an Audi R8 sold for in excess of £800,000.
- 2002 C5 RS6. Not many vehicles have the distinction of winning the North American SPEED World Challenge GT Series three times in a row. The C5 RS6 does. This Audi model produces 444 hp and looks as good as it performs. Fusing innovative technology and tasteful bold styling for a sleeper of a super sedan/wagon. Purchasing one of these will set you back around £8,000 which is a relative bargain considered.
- R8 (2007 to Present). When the R8 Le Mans prototype impressed so effectively at the French circuit, people began pleading for the company to produce a road going version. In 2007, Audi obliged with the R8 Production car. The car looks, handles, sounds, like a dream. Few cars blend practicality and performance like the R8 which go for around £50,000 and the latest over £125,000.
- 2012 R18 Ultra. Developing the R18 Ultra allowed Audi to transfer its highly advanced engine technology to road-going editions. The Le Mans race car performs at the highest peaks of its category because of its 3.7-litre turbocharged V6 diesel engine, a single piece chassis, plus intelligent air-flow management. If the R18 were ever to be auctioned, they would each fetch several million pounds.