Strange, isn’t it, that all motoring journalists do when the subject of fast Audis comes up in conversation is bang on about how they all understeer too much. It’s even more ridiculous than it sounds. Because the biggest single complaint we can raise about this highly regarded premium brand is actually not that that they understeer, because that’s what almost all road cars do and rightly so, but that their suspension is not set up to allow that understeer to be readily dialled out with judicious adjustments to the position of the accelerator pedal. So our big beef with these cars is that when you drive them as fast as you possibly can – having first disabled their safety systems – you can’t steer them on the throttle.
What normal person drives any car like that, let alone the saloons, estates, hatches and SUVs that make up the overwhelming majority of Audi’s fast car output? Almost none. It’s absurd.
Or is it? There is something here. Would it matter if Land Rover no longer bothered to make its posh all-wheel drive cars decent off-road because no one uses them for such purposes any more? Would Ferrari sales be harmed if it limited top speed to, say, 120mph, faster than 99 per cent of their customers drive them 99 per cent of the time? There is a credibility issue and sometimes you just like to know a car can do the thing it appears built to do, even if you’re never going to do it yourself. Which means if you make a high performance sporting car, whatever its body configuration, and it fails to behave as a sporting car should in a certain regard, it will be judged accordingly.
Audi, of course, can do it, and you only have to look at early R8s or rear-drive versions of the later car to know it. If that sense of balance could be instilled in its often beautifully designed, always well-built and unfailingly rapid fast family cars, the final piece of the puzzle would be in place.