Audi has always been a brand associated with luxury and driven performance and this has not changed over the several generations of consumers for which the German car brand has always been first choice. Here at MyCityByNight we’ve been dubbed as curators of urban culture, which is the reason why the friendly peeps over at Audi and Ogilvy Cape Town decided to get hold of the crew to invite us to be part of the fairly exclusive launch of the Audi A6 in South Africa.
The whole experience started off with a typically German (precise) call from the organisers letting us know the itenarary for the 2 days of the launch. The South African (Cape Town leg) of the launch was split into two parts to allow all guests to have an opportunity to drive and interact with the car before attending a gala dinner at the Westin Grand with none other than Ben Collins (The white suit Stig from Top Gear).
I knocked off early on Friday and made my way over the Vineyard Hotel in Claremont where I would meet with the rest of the lucky guests and prospective buyers to oggle a parking lot full of brand new Audi A6’s. Everyone was pretty excited about getting going in the cars but this being an opportunity to market the brand we all had to endure what must have been one of the most boring presentations I have ever seen. I do get that this was an opportunity to talk about how awesome Audi was when compared to everything else on the market, but really if I wanted to sit through a presentation laiden with graphs, figures and numbers I would have gone to an AU summit meeting.
Once we had finally made it through the “short” 25 minute presentation- we were able to pair up (no not have sex) and hop into the cars ready for an epic afternoon cruising the Cape Peninsula. Cape Town being the very concerned city that it is, played along and blessed all of us with beautiful sunshine (in the middle of winter) to really get a feel for the cars as we drove through to Camps Bay for a coffee (not that weather makes any difference to the new generation Quattro system). Once the first person had a chance to drive to Camps Bay- we stopped at Vida for a quick coffee and refresh before changing over and hopping back into the cars for the drive back.
I had the opportunity to drive the sort of middle of the range A6 (front wheel drive, diesel, no quattro). The car covered all of the bases that you would expect an executive sedan to, with the addition of some really nice technology including a head-up display and night-time infra-red cameras (which are all optional extras). Now everyone knows that I am a bit of a performance nut, so when we were given the fact sheet about the cars- my eyes went straight to the section on KW and Torque along with the related 0-100 sprint times. The car I was driving was one of the diesel models (3.0 TDI Multitronic), so I wasnt expecting the world as far as performance goes- thankfully I was pleasantly suprised. The torque from the engine (400nm) definately gave sufficient grunt to navigate any city with ease but I found multitronic-gearbox to be somewhat sluggish with change-downs when you forced it to do so when operating the car in the semi-manual mode. The engine is also incredibly effecient with fuel economy sitting at 3l/100km even with all of us thrashing it a bit. It is a diesel at the end of the day, which meant the engine note was rather uninspiring- my advice, if you’re looking for balanced performance go for the 3.0t quattro instead, if you’re looking for an all-round and useable package, go for the 3.0TDI (maybe spec it to get quattro if you can).
The car I tested was dripping with tech kit and all of this gadgetry combined with the BOSE sound system made it a complete joy to drive around town in. The Sat-Nav is very clever and I can’t see you getting lost in the this car… ever.
With the test drive over, I began looking forward to an opportunity to meet the man behind the white suit- Ben Collins. As a massive fan of motorsport, cars and driving in general- the chance to meet “The Stig” got me all giddy. Saturday finally came and I made the quick walk across the road from CTICC (where I was checking out the Cape Town Fashion Week 2011 closing night) to the Westin Grand Hotel. For anyone that hasnt had the chance to check out the Westin, do yourself a favour and book a stay- there’s one word to describe it… stunning.
All the guests were welcomed with canapes and a glass of sparkling wine (with a tiny little audi ring in). Apart from being a choking hazard, one of these rings would allow the lucky guest to win a set of Audi Titanium rings. Sadly- some young dude won it (he didnt look like he was old enough to even drive), but I’m just jealous that it wasnt me.
After all of the welcoming and pleasantries we got down to a cracking dinner and chat with Ben Collins. He talked about his work as a stunt driver on the Bond movie and his Le Mans Racing, as well as his time as the Stig on Top Gear. It was such a cool experience to listen to all of his achievements, watch some of his mad driving work and also relate to the guy on a more personal level. After the talk we all had the opportunity to meet Ben and get our copy of his latest book signed… Ben was a such a legend and we talked a bit of kak before he signed my book: I told him to write something inspirational and he wrote:
I never slept with your Mother
Long story short, Audi did well to involve all of their premiere clients as well as one or two massive fans of the brand who had a bit of a voice in media (yes I am sneakily referring to myself in the 3rd person again). Everyone had the chance to interact with the brand and find out a little bit more about the family of Audi and the new A6, which was way better than the same old emails and ads that we’re used to. My next car? Well probably not an A6, but I am definitely leaning towards joining the Audi family 🙂