The subsequent turnaround – all those sexy and beautiful cars like the TT and the R8, the foundational leaps in technology such as direct injection, the eight wins at Le Mans, the toe-to-toe-ing with Mercedes and BMW, all of that – began with the release of the Audi A4. The A4 was Audi’s iPod.
Taken on its own, none of these systems is revolutionary, or even first to market. Put them all together and stuff them into a midsize German sedan that, fully optioned, costs under $40,000, and make that sedan a model of holistic cool, and you have a car that can launch a second renaissance of Audi. And considering Audi spent $1 billion on what’s called the B8 program, that’s probably what it had in mind.