After my recent trip to a certain autoshow, I had a discussion with my much taller father. You see, I have unfortunately inherited his long torso, large head, and massive neck, which make me something of a ‘high sitter’. Basically, I’ve got the stature of a Dutchman when seated, and look more normal when standing. It goes without saying that buying off the peg is seldom an option, and most Far Eastern automobiles are a no-go zone. It’s not like you can effectively drive without being able to see out the windscreen, now is it? My father and I stared discussing this topic as it pertained to cars, and (other than Subarus) it seemed to be cars designed by, shall we say, Germanic peoples (yes, the English and Americans fall into this category) are the only ones in which we fit. That was always the case until now, as one German brand has gone all swoopy and grossly over-styled, yet he used to drive one when they still made taller and boxier cars. We came up with a bit of a question in need of exploring… Audis: are they only for short people?
We obviously know Audis have replaced BMWs for the penily challenged members of society, right as Bimmers began to replace Fords and Toyotas for the sales reps of the word. However, those pricks (probably not the best insult in this instance), weren’t all short little Napoleons. Audi might have started dressing the cars in their ‘best’ Dame Edna wear a while ago, but the current line has become rather low in the Roofline department. Take for instance the Q5, the windscreen tops out far lower than any of its competitors and the rear seats are practically Priusian in their lack of upper body space. I fit easily in the Volvo XC60, BMW X3, Mercedes GLK, Range Rover Evoque, corporate cousin the VW Tiguan, and even the new Ford Escape/Kuga. Only the Audi possesses such tight rear quarters and a driver’s seat lacking an all-all the way down position. It’s not as if the Bavarians of Ingolstadt are any shorter than those of Munich, so what is the behind the non-existent headroom?
Audi might have started this whole predicament with the TT; that Golf in drag was designed to appeal to women and effeminate men. The higher levels of oestrogen in such people tends to make them short than average, but that’s no excuse as both groups like to go for ‘big hair’ on occasion. The current model line’s roofline deficiency can’t exist to please the new ‘utter douchebag’ market to which Audis appeal, as some of those assholes, who don’t indicate or observe a proper following distance, seem quite tall when you confront them at the next traffic light. There has to be a logical explanation for this, and we eventually found our answer: China.
Red China (as opposed to Free and Good China aka Taiwan) is now Audi’s largest market. They know that the asshole market will eventually move on, so they’ve gone after the next big market. Unlike parent company VW, who makes cars designed specifically for the Chinese market, Audi is a one global product-line manufacturer. That sort of thing works for Ford, who now makes the same good (read German designed) cars available with minimal changes all around the world, but Audi? Let’s just say no on that one. China might have brought better Buicks from GM in the US elder-mobile market, but it also has made Audis not a realistic option for anyone able to ride a roller coaster. I am, of course, fine with this, as Electric Power Steering is now standard across the range! Best of luck to Audi in China; I can’t wait to see the next generation of knock-offs.