by Gary / 2 comments

So let me explain the 'wrong.'

In 2001 I purchased my first Audi, a TT Roadster. That started a love affair with the brand that lasts to this day. Janis joined me in 2003 with her S3, and she's currently on her third one. I guess the love is infectious.

In fact, since that 2001 purchase, we have owned a total of eight different cars. The brand must be doing something right.

The Pin image of our post - 'Our visit to the Audi Museum, Ingolstadt, Germany
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My 2001 silver Audi TT roadster posing with the roof down in Rochester
My first Audi - The TT 225 Roadster
So I felt very wrong when as part of our 2016 Christmas road trip, I visited the Mercedes Museum.
The rear view of a 1950's, gull-winged, 300 SL coupé in the mercedes benz museum in stuttgart
The gull-wing 300 SL coupé in the Mercedes Benz Museum
This wrong needed to be righted.

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A place to visit in Bavaria

A crafted opportunity
Therefore, when planning the 2017 Christmas road trip and creating the route, I noticed we passed Ingolstadt, Audi's home since Auto Union's reformation in 1949. This trip was going to be an opportunity not to be missed.
Pedestrians are walking along one of Munich shopping streets at night under fairy light telling you you are entering 'Müchner Christkindlmarkt.'
Müchner Christkindlmarkt
The route from Munich to Frankfurt was a mere 244 miles/392km and would take a little over 4 hours; surely we afford a minor detour? We could.

Where is the Audi Museum, Ingolstadt?

How to get to Audi Forum Ingolstadt

- By Car

The Audi Forum Ingolstadt is 3 miles/5km west of the A9 Autobahn following Römerstraße. It is situated 1.5 miles/2.5km from Ingolstadt Altstadt.

Unlike the Mercedes Museum, parking on site was free of charge - you just need to present your parking ticket to reception.

If you've flown into another city, why not include it on a road trip. Rental Cars searches multiple well-known car hire brands and discovers the best deals that suit you.

- By public transport
You are just over an hour from Munich and Nuremberg by train/bus.

The current day home of Audi

Ingolstadt

Being the geek that I am, I may have watched one or two of Audi's launch videos that featured the old town of Ingolstadt. It looks like another Bavarian delight, a gothic masterpiece that played a pivotal role in Mary Shelly's 'Frankenstein'.

However time was against us, and I had one thing on my mind, the Audi Museum, we'd have to skip the scenic town.

I should mention the museum is part of a complex and is perhaps better known as the 'Audi Forum Ingolstadt'.

The stylish circulal museumobile building that is home to the Audi museum in the audi forum ingolstadt complex.
The Audi Museum
Sitting a little outside the old town, and close to Audi manufacturing plant, we parked up in eager anticipation.

Discovering the history of Audi

Inside the Museum
So we strolled into the reception area. Now, it was a Tuesday morning, just before lunchtime, but the place seemed relatively quiet. The asking price was €2 each; the Mercedes Museum was €10 - I think we were in for something less, errmmm, "Showy".

2022/2023 Price

The €2 was in 2017; Audi now weighs in at €5, Mercedes at €12.
A beautifully preserved 1914 Wanderer 2hp Motorbikeset on a stand in the Audi Museum in Ingolstadt, Germany
1914 Wanderer 2hp Motorbike
As in the Mercedes Museum, you take the elevator/lift to the top floor and walk through history back down to the shop. The difference is that the journey is somewhat shorter hear at Audi.
A classic Horsh 12 Type 670 Sports convertible from 1931 in a beautiful, vibrant sunflower yellow and black contrasting paint scheme in a glass display box at the audi forum ingolstadt
The Horsh 12 Type 670 Sports Convertible 1931

I've already used the G-word, Geek - yep that's me. I like to know stuff, always have - imagine how annoying I was as a kid in the pre-Google world, asking my parents how barcodes worked!

Anyway, in a modern world, I already knew a reasonable amount about Audi. I knew the history, but not the cars.

How beautiful is this Wanderer W25K Roadster from 1936

A beautifully sleek Wanderer W25K Roadster with its roof down in a white and black livery in the audi museum in ingolstadt
Wanderer W25K Roadster - 1936

The design style is almost Bauhaus, and you can imagine the likes of Marlene Dietrich owning one.

Wanderer had been an independent brand until the Great Depression (1929/39) and the brand became the nucleus of Auto Union, along with DKW, Horch and Audi.

The stylish interior of the Wanderer W25K Roadster with white and black trim in the audi forum ingolstadt
The interior of Wanderer W25K Roadster

Anyway, back to the history of Audi.

When August Horch, set up a car company called Horch, fell out with his backers, set up his own business, couldn't use his name (which roughly translates into "listen"), so translated it into Latin and came up with Audi - you know, as in Audio. (So you know the right way to say Audi now - except I still say Owww - di, like so many Brits).

A closeup of a vintage Audi engine with a gloss black block contrasted against silver streel components in the Audi Museum in Ingolstadt, Germany
A vintage Audi engine
I also knew the four rings represented an amalgamation of Audi, Horch, DKW & Wander into Auto Union - all the brands are covered at the Museum.

An Audi fan?

Are you an Audi fan, or do you know somebody who is?  Then this could be right up your street - Four Rings: The Audi Story

Audi through the years

Dealing with the past
Like Mercedes, the Museum acknowledges the part the company played in the World War II and its collaboration with the National Socialists.
Two military motorbikes and a truck represent the brand's involvement in the Nazi war effort.
Part of Audi's war effort

Although Audi's story differs in that the outcome of the post-war repatriations placed its headquarters in Soviet-controlled Eastern Germany; therefore Auto Union evaporated in East Germany and was reborn in the west, in Ingolstadt.

The four rings may look familiar, but post-war, we had Auto Unions. The demand for luxury models had collapsed, so the focus shifted to more family-orientated models.

The late 50's/early 60's burnt orange coloured Auto Union 1000 on display in the audi forum ingolstadt
Auto Union 1000
However, once prosperity began to return, so did the ambition with models like this Auto Union 1000 SP.
The stylish 2 seater sports car that was the Auto Union 1000 SP in a pale cream colour with a cherry-red interior in the audi motor museum
The Auto Union 1000 SP
And with an interior that looks more American than German, you could see where the brand was looking to expand.
the 1950's minimalist interior of the Auto Union 1000 SP in cherry red and cream in the audi motor museum
The interior of the Auto Union 1000 SP

However, the truth was Auto Union needed major investment, and that meant that another of Germany's giants came to the rescue.

In 1969 Volkswagen bought the Ingolstadt factory and badge engineered a few models in the next few years.

An apple green Audi 50 that bears a close resemblance to an 1970's Volkswagen Polo in the audi museum in ingolstadt, germany
The Audi 50

It also brought stability, and the rebirth of the Audi brand. It also meant Auto Union disappeared as a manufacturer.

Audi then spread its wings to the brand we know and love today.

An audi avus concept car from the 1991 in a chrome wrap on display in the audi forum ingolstadt
All shiney - The Audi Avus

Find out more

For more information, you can always visit the Audi Museum Mobile website.

Exploring Audi's Heritage

The new Audi
Like so many car companies, it forged its reputation in motorsport. But not open wheels, no. (Well, not until 2026, when it enters Formula 1).
The short wheelbase Audi Quattro S1 on a gravel rally stage at the audi museum in the audi forum ingolstadt
Audi Quattro S1

Audi first came to prominence in the world's rally stages and brought us all-wheel-drive to road cars.

Then to the touring car circuits of the world before dominating World Endurance Racing at events like Le Mans and Sebring

The Audi V8 Quattro DTM at the audi museum in the audi forum ingolstadt
Audi V8 Quattro DTM
I may have missed Audi's dominance at Le Mans. I was a stalwart from 1993 to 1998, the year before the four rings took to the Circuit de la Sarthe.
The silver and yellow liveried American Le Mans Audi R8 at the audi museum in the audi forum ingolstadt
The ALMS winning Audi R8
However, I have completed many laps in these beasts, albeit from the comfort of my lounge on my Playstation in the world of Gran Turismo.
A bright red original Audi Quattro on display at the audi museum in the audi forum ingolstadt
The original Audi Quattro

It was these cars I fell in love in my youth.

Now, I tend to go for the classics. The monsters from Auto Union, built to battle with their arch enemy, Mercedes.

The Auto Union 1938-39 type D 16 cylinder racing car with it's 4 tyre rear axle at the audi museum in the audi forum ingolstadt
Auto Union type D
And it's great to see them in action at events like the Goodwood Revival, or the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
The Auto Union Streamliner being prepared for a run at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the south-east of the UK
The Auto Union Streamliner at the  Goodwood Festival of Speed

I love nothing more than planning a trip and so often I use the DK Eyewitness books.  I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more.

We used a previous version of this book to plan our Germany road trips, now you can grab the revised copy.

A visit to the Audi Museum

So is it worth it?
As an Audi fan, yes. As a fan of German automotive history yes, was it as good as the Mercedes Museum? Errrrmm No - but at least I had righted a wrong.
The Audi four-ring logo with the slogan 'Vorsprung durch Technik' on the side of a glass and stainless steel building
Audi - Vorsprung durch Technik

Where to stay.

As mentioned earlier, Ingolstadt is between Munich & Nuremberg, and you could easily pick either. Why not check out the options on Booking.com.

Alternatively, we hear good things about Ingolstadt's old town, so why not check out another Bavarian gem?

Booking.com

Have you?

Visited Ingolstadt? Was it to visit the museum or to soak up the local history? What should we look out for next time we visit the town?

* This post may contain links to affiliated sites where we earn a small commission at no additional charge to you.

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  1. I am André Acker, from Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.
    As you, A few years ago I decided that enough was enough and I stopped with my job. Or any job. I must say that I was very lucky professionally in order to be well paid and have the funds to support my decision. But there are other people that insist on working and working and working …
    Thanks for the beautiful report and for the nice photos ! They are very useful for people doing model cars, like me.
    Cheers !

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