I’m just back from holiday Lake Garda and I thought I’d share a few experiences with you as well as just a few of the 1200 pictures we took!
We saw this about 10 miles from Ingolstadt. I tried to get my missus to get a picture of the front too but she failed. I think it’s a test mule......
Ingolstadt Factory Tour
The drive into Ingolstadt itself was pretty unreal. Literally every 3rd car is an Audi. Mostly within 3 years old. Once we got closer to the factory area those numbers went up to about 2 in every 3!
The factory itself is huge. We were early so went for a quick look around:
Toward the south end is more the public area though:
Inside the main reception building is a cafe, large shop and also the handover section for people collecting their new cars direct:
We were of course not allowed to take photos on the tour itself but basically it started off with a quick slideshow presentation showing the facilities at Ingolstadt and what cars are made there, and then also the same for the other European factories.
Next we went to the pressing section for A4 body panels. We saw the machines that cut the long rolls of sheet steel into sections and then the machines that bend them into the right shape.
After that we saw the robots that construct at body of the A4. They are very proud of their robots that work wirelessly. Basically the computer is told what car with what features is to be produced next and then as the car moves along the line each robot knows exactly what part to fit to it, for example an S-Line model has different wings to a non S-Line. The A4 saloon, estate and the A5 are all made on the same line and in a seemingly random order.
This line also incorporates a buffer so if a machine goes down there are still plenty of made up bodies that can carry on to the next stage.
We then moved onto the production line for the A3, A3 SB and S3. Here the ready made and painted bodies move continuously down a line, initially suspended from the ceiling while workers add parts here and there to it. Of course starting from the soundproofing and heat resistant panels working up to fitting the final parts which are the seats. It was really amazing to see where my car was built and possibly the actual workers! I saw three RHD S3s being built, a Sprint Blue SB, White SB with Nav+ and a black 3dr. Anyone on here??
At the end of the line a worker gets in and takes the car for a short drive where he then tests all the main electrics such as the wipers. Not every car is tested 100% as it takes about 2 hours per car.
That was basically it. 2 hours long and very much worth €7 I think (4 for my student lady friend).
We then took a slow walk around the Audi Museum. A tour is also available there but after a 6 hour drive starting at 0400 I wasn’t in the mood really.
On the way to our hotel we took a drive around the back of the entire complex where the holding area is. These are cars waiting to be loaded on trains/lorries or being collected by customers at the factory:
600 Mile Range
I did a bit of research and managed to find the closest Shell garage to the Austrian border so I could fill up my car for the last time with tax free fuel (plus 20l in cans!):
Then on a stretch through Austria the traffic was a constant 55-60mph and I noticed my range going up and up. I kept taking pictures each time is increased and the highest it got to was 550 miles (I slowed down a touch and put the cruise on just to see what the car was capable of), I had reset the trip counter when I filled up by the way. Not bad for a 300bhp (ish) car!
Lamborghini Factory Tour
Another early start and we took a drive to Sant’ Agata for our pre-booked tour.
We arrived early and I ended up in the queue for the carpark with what turned out to be all the factory workers and ended up being let into the workers car park! As we drove around the back I saw inside a large room that was full of Lambos waiting for collection. One was under a cover but I managed to make out that there were 2 Reventóns in there! No chance to get a pic though I’m afraid. We did see this though:
A nice man then came to tell us we had to leave as we were in the wrong place. You actually have to park at the side of the road outside the factory! We got there in time though as we saw 2 Gallardos covered in stickers and strips going in the delivery entrance. Not sure what they were but they weren’t the new LP 560-4!
Anyway, the tour...
We were escorted by a lovely Italian lady who said Mama Mia a lot and did actually put an O at the end of every word!
She took us through a history of Lamborghini and then though the model history up until the company was sold to Audi. She seemed very passionate about the cars and it was really interesting to see where the different design cues came from.
We then had to put our cameras away in lockers before we were taken through a door to the rear of the building where we were greeted by a long road leading away from us with about 20-30 Lamborghinis either side! I had goose bumps! My missus nearly fainted, and then we heard a V12 start up somewhere from the line and she made a purring noise!!
We moved into the production facility. There are 3 main areas there, the Gallardo line, Murciélago line and then the engine line. Most parts arrive in boxes from Germany (the Gallardo body is made in the same factory as the R8) but the engines are made in Sant’ Agata apparently!
Each production line is very similar to that at Ingolstadt. It’s a lot shorter however and the conveyor only moves every 45 minutes allowing the workers to do a lot more things. Also the workers all wear smart black Lamborghini polo shirts (€66 from the shop) and have better haircuts.
So that’s about it. It was €35 for 2 hours but it was still worth the money!
A few pics:
Also I noticed the front car parks were full of Audis all registered in Ingolstadt:
A couple of pictures of my car near Lake Garda:
Thanks for reading