• Jan 19th 2009 at 8:28AM
  • 33
Click above for a hi-res gallery of our first drive in the new Audi A4

Luxury sports sedans are made all over the world, but nobody does 'em quite like the Germans. The BMW 3 Series has stood as the champion of the segment for decades, but not anymore. According to government records of new vehicle registration, the Audi A4 was the best-selling premium car, beating out the 3-Series, along with the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

By the numbers, 98,714 A4's were sold in Germany over the course of 2008, making it the second most popular new car in Germany behind the Volkswagen Golf. But lest you think Germans are enamored only with Audi's new A4, which was introduced last year, the A6 and TT also topped their segments, contributing to the strongest growth (or weakest decline) in the German market and across Western Europe. The innovators in all-wheel traction and aluminum construction saw their entire market share rise last year by 0.8% to a total of 8.1% of the German new car market, details of which you can read in the press release after the jump.

[Source: Audi via AutoGuide.com] PRESS RELEASE

Ingolstadt, 2009-01-16

AUDI AG: A4 is Germany's most successful premium model in 2008

* After VW Golf, Audi A4 most frequently bought car in Germany
* Audi A6 and Audi TT most successful models in their classes
* Audi is the premium brand in Germany and Western Europe experiencing the strongest growth

The latest vehicle registration numbers verify that the Audi A4 is Germany's most successful premium automobile. No other model in the premium segment surpassed the 98,714 A4 models registered last year. The Audi A6 also topped its segment with 45,304 registrations. The second generation of the Audi TT design icon was registered 10,630 times in Germany – making it the most successful sports car in Germany in 2008.

AUDI AG was able to expand its market share on the domestic German market to 8.1 percent – an increase of 0.8 percent. In Western Europe, Audi boosted its market share by 0.4 points to 4.8 percent: No other premium brand succeeded in strengthening its market position this significantly.

"Audi is presently experiencing stronger growth than any other premium brand in the region – and thanks to new models we will maintain this dynamism," says Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG. "In a difficult market environment, we want to further expand our market share in Germany and Western Europe."

The Audi A4 is presently undergoing further upgrading: The top versions of the model line – the S4 Sedan and Avant – are now arriving in Europe's showrooms. The new A4 Avant was just launched in April 2008. In addition to the fleet award from Auto-Flotte magazine, Audi's best-selling model has already won countless accolades and has beaten the competition in all relevant comparison tests.

The product improvement of the A6 was launched in September 2008. Also the winner of the fleet award in its class, today the A6 is Germany's most successful business sedan.

With the Audi TTS, the top version of the TT line, Audi introduced the first S model in this class. The Audi TT TDI debuted as the first production sports car powered by a diesel engine.

AUDI AG sold a total of 1,003,000 cars in 2008 and thus achieved its thirteenth consecutive record year. Audi produces vehicles in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm (Germany), Györ (Hungary), Changchun (China) and Brussels (Belgium). Aurangabad in India saw the start of local production of the Audi A6 at the end of 2007 and of the Audi A4 in early October 2008. The company is active in more than 100 markets worldwide. AUDI AG's wholly owned subsidiaries include Automobili Lamborghini Holding S.p.A. in Sant'Agata Bolognese (Italy) and quattro GmbH in Neckarsulm. Audi currently employs around 57,000 people worldwide, including 45,000 in Germany. The brand with the four rings invests more than €2 billion each year in order to sustain the company's technological lead embodied in its "Vorsprung durch Technik" slogan. Audi plans to significantly increase the number of models in its portfolio by 2015 to 40. The Audi brand celebrates its 100th birthday in 2009. The company was founded by August Horch in Zwickau on July 16, 1909; he named it Audi after the Latin translation of his surname ("hark!").

AUDI AG will present the complete results for the 2008 business year at its Annual Press Conference on March 10, 2009 in Ingolstadt.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Maybe it's because Audi knows how to design better cup holder. Really, I don't understand why the recent BMWs has no decent cup holders!
      • 6 Years Ago
      The 3-series coupe looks better than any A4.
      The regular 3-series is a different story but regardless, I'm biased towards the beemer.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I guess they don't like well-made, reliable cars in Germany.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Impressive. Truly impressive. Congrats VW/Audi, and keep it up!
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'd chalk it up to BMW design.

      After the E46, they've been trying so hard to be "edgy", and end up looking like a spruced up Pontiac. Crappy iDrive (yes I've used it, it's horrendous), cup holders that would barely hold a small cup of coffee (why even bother?), an interior that is a step below Audi. I liked BMWs for their understated designs before, esp the E34 5-series. Now that Audi has taken that niche, I think you'll see more people flocking from the poseur-mobile BMW to the Audi.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I can see why, the A4 is a better-looking automobile. Plus, BMWs are so common now, it's understandable that people would want something different.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Thanks to audi's glorious design.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is the logical decision for any consumer... with BMW you always get "less" than what you pay for... with Audi, you get what you pay for. Besides, bimmers are quality control nightmares on wheels.

      • 1 Year Ago
      That looks like an awesome car, I would love to buy one eventually, I need to save up a little bit more, but I should be able to pull it off. Jason. http://www.arverandahs.com.au/
      • 6 Years Ago
      Clearly it's my fellow Americans talking about the behavior of the driver in the high priced cars. Simply forgetting a few things.

      - Our driver education compared to Germany is like public schools versus private schools stateside.

      - The 'luxury brands' sell base models overseas with configurations we'll never see, since they don't want to 'tarnish the brand' in the US with lower priced more sensible models.

      I'd be interested to see the most popular setups for most of these cars, as they'd probably be less-luxury than most of the Audis and BMWs we see on US streets.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I was looking to buy A4 or BMW3 (wagons) in European country recently. My guess would be that the Germans chose the A4 instead of BMW3 because of the practical reasons: A4 is a bit less expensive and more "spacious" (legroom in the back is still tight, but adequate), thus A4 could pas for a family car (by European standards, anyway). Bulk of the A4 and BMW3 in Western Europe are sold with most economical 2.0 litre diesel engines, thus Europeans buy these cars for commute, not for fun or exclusivity (I guess, that's the case in the US).
      • 6 Years Ago
      My Audi A4 2.0T drives like a rental..I wish I never got it! It was nice new, but it has aged so quickly. My wifes '06 328xi is still insane to drive, nothing but sheer bliss. It is truly a drivers car.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Funny. My mother has a 328xi and I don't think it drives nearly as well as an A4. The A4 2.0t has more power and objectively handles better. The xi BMWs can't have sport suspensions and they are jacked up so they don't really handle much like BMWs at all.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I agree with your reply,

        you really feel the weight in the Xi.

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