Vanarama Content Editor Tom Roberts takes a look at why he'll always have a special place in his heart for Audi cars.
I'll never forget the day my Dad pulled up in his first Audi. It was a bright red Mark 1, 1.8 litre petrol engine, and it just looked amazing – at 17 years old this was my first experience of Audis and the beginning of my love affair with the brand.
The first thing my Dad did was take the whole family for a spin – my sister and I were crammed in the back on light grey leather seats, my Mum in the front, tearing around the country roads in Dunstable. It just seemed to hug the road, taking tight corners in its stride, and it was obvious how much my Dad was enjoying driving it – I wanted one.
After a few years, he traded it in for a 'Misano Red' 3.2 litre petrol V6 Quattro Mark 1 TT coupe. My word if that thing couldn't shift – it was so fast. 0-60mph in 8 seconds, DSG 6-speed gearbox (an advanced dual-clutch, multiple shaft manual gearbox, operating two separate gearboxes in one component for reduced shift times), and all the mod cons made it an incredible attractive package. Dad loved this car, it was his pride and joy before he realised his childhood dream of owning a Porsche – first a regular Cayman, and now a Cayman S…I hear tell he's thinking of trading up to a 911, but time will tell.
Owning an Audi – dreams CAN come true!
How did I come to eventually own an Audi? Simple, when my Dad upgraded to the Porsche Cayman, I bought the 3.2l TT off him – for a good price, apparently (if you're reading this, Dad, I would buy it all over again). I'll never forget the first time I drove it into work…I actually turned heads. My colleagues couldn't believe it – I'd gone from driving a 1.25l Ford Fiesta to my very own sports car.
Owning an Audi is a very special thing, and I revelled in it. Leather seats, confidence, speed – I had it all. Sorry if this seems a little over-the-top, but as a 27-year-old it was such a great feeling to ACTUALLY own something like this. And it didn't stop there, thanks to owning a TT I got to drive a selection of other Audis whenever my car was in the garage.
Over the five years I owned the TT, my courtesy cars included an A3 Cabriolet, A1, A6 Estate and a Q7 - which is more than can be said for my colleague and fellow Audi driver whose latest courtesy vehicle was more corned beef tin than car...it certainly was not an Audi! But every single Audi was a pleasure to drive, and further cemented by love for the brand. Audi really are one of those car manufacturers that just understands how comfort and power can be combined into perfectly-sculpted bodies – not unlike myself (don't look at my profile picture on this site, the illusion will be shattered instantly).
Continually impressed by design
Just look at the Audis on offer today. A new design style has come in, abandoning some of the curvier bodies of old in favour of more sharp lines and dipped features. At first, I looked back at my old TT Mark 1 and lamented the decision to change the looks, but the more designs I see, the more impressed I am. It's not the four rings of the Audi logo on the grill that make them so recognisable, it's the attention to detail as a whole. THAT'S what Audi is all about.
From the A1 right up to the A6, A8s, RS and larger Q ranges, there's a certain detailed class attached the Audis – and an air of power about them. They put out a vibe of confidence and determination that I definitely felt while driving them.
To the future
And now, my latest family car is an A6 estate – purchased when my wife and I welcomed our first child to the world. It's big, safe and comfy…we even went automatic because there's enough to deal with when you've got a child on board without having to change gear. Am I right, people? It's like we've come full circle as a family, from a sports car-owning professional couple to a family car-owning trio, up and down the Audi range from small to large.
The only question now is which Audi I'm going to get my hands on when my son grows up and I can have my mid-life crisis car change?
To take a look at Audi's range of vehicles, head here.