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Audi A8, Audi R8: How they are born

Audi Neckarsulm

Awesome inside looks here into Audi’s Neckarsulm factory which produces the Audi A8 and the Audi R8. A must see!

In an industry increasingly obsessed with cutting curb weights, Audi’s two assembly lines for aluminum cars in Neckarsulm, Germany, are at the spear tip. No other automaker has pursued aluminum body construction as doggedly as Volkswagen’s upscale subsidiary, which assembles the R8 mid-engine supercar and A8 luxury-liner here from aluminum alloy and has operated a lightweight development center since 1982 devoted largely to lucky number 13 on the periodic table. A highly enlightening day spent walking these two lines proves that lightweight materials carry a lot of weight at Audi.

Lying along the Neckar River in southwest Germany, Neckarsulm is about an hour’s drive south of the country’s financial hub in Frankfurt. It owes much of its livelihood to Audi Aktiengesellschaft and the many local suppliers that feed it. A hand-me-down from when Volkswagen absorbed the car and motorcycle maker NSU in 1969, it was home to the rotary-powered NSU Ro80 of 1967–1977, and some 330,000 Porsche 924s and 944s also emerged from its gates. The plant currently employs 13,630 people on a campus that is almost two miles long and a half-mile wide. Besides the R8 and A8, its various lines currently zip together A4s, A5 cabriolets, and A6s. It will also be home to the forthcoming A7 four-door coupe.