I see a trend occurring over the last few years in the U.S. automotive press that is more and more favorable towards the Audi brand of cars. Starting with the big splash of the R8 some 4 or 5 years ago, and all of the accolades it has received ("Most Desired Vehicle;" Best Handling Car;" "Car of the Year," etc.), Audi seems to be on an upward trend in the eyes of the journalists--not just in the eyes of the consumers.
Sure, there are some that say as the brand becomes more popular in the U.S. (as evidenced by their record 118,000 new car sales in America in 2011), it's just a natural extension of that success to see better reviews and favorable reporting in the press. I don't necessarily agree with that assumption; years ago, when Lexus was on a sales roll in America, I don't remember reading too many articles about Lexus' handling, styling, or likeability prowess in the major U.S. car magazines.
I think there's more to it. Of course, one can point to Audi's enhanced sportiness, as measured by increases in handling, horsepower, and overall "sexiness" exhibited in such cars as the R8, RS5, S6, S8, and S4 in the last few years. Let's face it--car magazines LIKE performance! I don't read much about long-term reliability follow up reports, or about fuel economy, or about overall customer satisfaction with owning a specific brand, BUT, talk about raw power, 0--60 times, and LARGE wheels....well, that's right up the alley for car magazines. I have to be realistic--these magazines are in the business of SELLING periodicals, and let's face it; a cover with the words, "Most Satisfying Cars to Own" is not quite as sexy, as "Powerblasters:0--60 MPH in 3 Seconds!!"
Looking at the last 4 years, several Audi cars have caused a big splash in the car journalism world, and have fueled the trend I am writing about. When the Q5 arrived about 4 years ago, it won every head-to-head comparison with its competitors, and was the first Audi I can recall that received such universal acceptance from car magazines around the country. Next, the updated S4, having switched from a V8 to a supercharged V6 and grown in length 6 inches...usually NOT a cocktail for automotive journalists to shout its praises...ended up with VERY favorable reviews and Top 10 listings.
However, it's the recent articles about the upcoming S8, S7, and most importantly, the S6, that prompted me to write this entry. On the cover of the July 2012 Car and Driver Magazine, under the heading of "IN SEARCH OF THE WORLD'S BEST SEDAN," there's a picture of the new S6 in the middle, front and center. Imagine my excitement, as I quickly turned to the end of this article in the middle of the magazine, and saw the final scoring: AUDI S6: 213 points, Mercede E63 AMG: 210 points, and BMW M5: 193 points. Could it be that BMW's love affair with the automotive press is over? The last sentence in the article may predict the future; "Bavarians aren't big on change, but down here, old regimes are rapidly being overthrown."