Once again it’s time for us to don our waders and slurp our way through the thick gruesome soup of motoring past in the hope of fishing something of interest from among the putrid, foetid slurry. Welcome back to The Carchive.
Today we’re heading back a full forty years to see what Audi were doing back when NSU were still a thing. Were they doing anything differently to how they do it today? Have they changed their direction or are they still working towards the same ideals? The car is the Audi 100 (A6 in modern speak).
“Making significant improvements on successful models is a principle of Audi NSU”
This brochure, like many others from Germany, is very straight-talking and tends to avoid gushing with too much nonsense about lifestyle or image. It shoots from the hip, tells you what the car does, has and is. It’s a bit sterile, but it’s quite refreshing.
It’s also very different to the way Audi brochures are now.
“The special Audi combustion process means that Audi 100 engines use very little fuel and are therefore particularly economical in operation”
Reading this brochure is a bit like attending a press conference, fact after fact being delivered directly to your face in an assault of numbers and statistics. As it happens, some of those figures look pretty impressive, when you consider that the year was 1975.
Engine choices were 1.8 or 1.9 litres capacity and outputs were quoted in both net and gross figures, the 1,9 managing 112 and 129hp respectively. That’s a damn good showing for a four cylinder engine with a carburettor. 0-62 mph is quoted as 10.8 seconds with a top speed of 111mph.
“All Audi 100 models have a precise, light centre floor shift and non-reflecting, easy to read instruments”
Look at those dashboards. Don’t they look like a nice place to be? The GL, as befits its top-line status, enjoyed a rev-counter and a centre console over what standard equipment the LS came with. Both cars had enormous steering wheels.
To say that the dashboard layout looks “clean” would be pointless, because it hasn’t got to deal with presenting a whole lot of information to you. It looks very honest, though. Decoration is provided by the (almost certainly not genuine) woodgrain accents, but otherwise all is form and function.
“All Audi 100s provide a high degree of comfort for five passengers, and plenty of room for luggage.”
No nonsense anywhere else in the interior, either. Five seats, upholstered in either velour or velour and PVC (if you’ve cheaped out and gone for the LS), full carpeting and little or no trinketry. Once upon a time this was the German way.
It all looks very crisp. Very fit-for purpose.
“Every detail in the Audi 100 is designed carefully and of high quality”
I won’t suggest that we discuss whether that’s still the case of today’s Audis, but I will remark on just how clean and trim this car seems everywhere you look. Of course, I accept that comparing a ’75 100 with a ’15 A6 is an apples and oranges comparo.
But it is interesting to ponder what might have happened had Audi not taken the Auto-Union grille route at the beginning of this century.
Was there an alternative stylistic path that Audi could have followed to achieve instant brand recognition without reliance on the horseshoe on the front?
(All images are of original manufacturer publicity materials, copyright remains property of Audi. This particular brochure, as you see, suffers from a modicum of wear and tear through over-reading, for which I offer no apology)