Audi Driver's Day at Ingolstadt: My Second Visit (2007 S8 and 2007 TT 3.2Q DSG)
Do you ever wonder about the difference between driving an Audi Space Frame (ASF) car and driving a traditional body-chassis car? I do. Thanks to the Audi Driver's Day Program at Ingolstadt, my brother - Leo, and I have secured the Daytona Grey Pearl Effect 5.2 V10 S8 and "der neu" Light Silver Metallic 3.2Q DSG TT for 5 days...
We both feel the heightened appreciation of these two ASF cars in our first day in the mountain range, we also attended the half day aluminum weight-saving program at the Neckarsulm factory. Neckarsulm site covers 2 miles from the south to the north occupying 168 acres. Historically, this was the original NSU factory. NSU was one of the brand the four brands that made up the Auto Union. Aluminum construction is not new to Audi. Horsch created the first aluminum engine in 1899 in Koln! This site builds A6s, A8s, and the highly anticipated R8s. 850 A6s are built in 24 hours in 3 shifts and 180 A8s are built in 24 hours in 2 shift. About 25 R8s will be built in 24 hours here in building B14. This factory consumes 500 tons of steel and 60 tons of aluminum daily. What's unique about the Neckarsulm factory compared to any car factories in the world is the advanced steel-aluminum and aluminum bonding technologies. Full Drilling Screw (FDS), Riveting with epoxy glue, Metal Inert Gas (M16), and laser welding are a few examples of aluminum bonding technologies that are mastered and perfected at this advanced manufacturing site since the first all aluminum A8 car rolled out of this factory in 1988...
The Alps have mesmerizing views of jagged bare mountain tops. The lushes green pine trees carpet the lower three quarter of the mountains. At the bottom of the valley, we are surrounded by these magnificent rocks. A small town, Muhlbach am Hockkonig - a ski resort in the winter - populated by Alpine houses with vibrant color flower boxes on the balconies adds to the already uplifting and serene atmosphere. A couple riding bicycles with their groceries from the farmer's market at the town center take notice of the five Audi cars parked in a row; the two of them are the cars we are driving, the others are red Audi 90, green metallic Audi 100, and charcoal grey Audi A4 B6. People in this town love their Audis...
A red Ferrari F430 passes me while I am doing 200 km/h on the sixth gear on the Autobahn heading towards Munich from Garmisch-Partenkirchen. I unleash the reserved raw power of the V10 and I see the needle passing 220, 240, 260 effortlessly. At 270 km/h, I comfortably keep a constant safe distance from the Ferrari. This surprises me a bit since the car documentation says that the S8 top speed is electornically limited to 250 km/h. The road curves and occasional traffic prevent us from going faster than this extraordinary speed. At this speed, the S8 feels very solid and confident. The aerodynamics of the car generates plenty of down force at this speed that I feel completely in control. I follow the Ferrari at a constant distance for 40 minutes or so till the driver slows down and turns his turning signal on heading for an exit. He waves at me and smile. I give him the same respecting gesture as I blast by him. This car awes me. A family sedan is able to keep up, at least on the Autobahn, with the legendary Ferrari that costs 3 to 4 times more and carries less passengers and luggages...
The S8 may look like a Wallstreet executive limo. Surely, the size and the interior make the car look like one. But when unleashed, the soronous burbly almighty V10, the magnetic active suspension, and the "vorsprung dur technik" ASF transform this car into a menacing spirited Le Mans R8 LP1 inspired race car. The glamour, the beautiful skin, the ergonomic luxurios interior, and the race-car performance are found in one package; this begs belief!
I enjoy the rides and experiences in the top of the line S8 and "der neu" TT with the latest innovations in sporty driving dynamics, but I also get to know the record-breaking racing histories, the driven people, the strive-for-excellence culture, the perfected manufacturing processes, and the leading-edge aluminium weight-saving technologies that produce these engineering marvels that we often take for granted. Audi Driver's Day program shows me how the Soul of an Audi is born!
For those who are interested, please visit Redirect microsite. This Audi Forum site provides the details about the program and how to participate. You will love it...
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