Audi’s House of Progress at this year’s IAA Mobility in Munich was a major attraction, showcasing not only the brand’s approach to future mobility but a different approach to the traditional motor show concept.
27 October, 2023
While car shows have become largely a thing of the past in Australia, internationally they remain a keenly anticipated event where motoring enthusiasts and the just plain curious alike can see the next generation of automotive excellence, innovation and just plain dream-worthy machines in the one location.
One of the biggest and longest running motor shows in the world, the German International Motor Show, known as IAA Mobility remains a veritable magnet for enthusiasts from Germany and all around the globe, drawn to Munich (formally Frankfurt) to take in the very latest and also the future of mobility in its various forms. This year did not disappoint, with some 750 exhibitors from 40 countries displaying their finest, with more than half a million visitors turning out over the five days of the event.
Not surprisingly, Audi as always was a major drawcard, not only for the vehicles the brand displayed but also for its different approach to the very show concept, taking the static display and injecting it with life in the form of discussion panels across a range of subjects relevant to mobility now and in the future, as well as hands on demonstrations and tests drives.
Audi’s House of Progress formed the nucleus of the brand’s presence at IAA. While the more conventional reveals for international press were well cater for at the exhibition centre proper, a large outdoor area right in the very heart of Munich’s historic town centre served as the Audi ‘HQ’ for the show, where the brand’s very latest electric models – Q8 e-tron, Q4 e-tron Sportback and RS e-tron GT – were displayed along with the futuristic Audi activesphere concept.
Open to the public for the duration of the show, the large sprawling area was designed as part exhibition, part demonstration centre as well as a forum for discussions panels. Here special guests and representatives from Audi tackled everything from the future of performance vehicles, to the future of mobility in all its forms and of course, the most important underlying idea of protecting the very future of the planet. Joining AUDI AG Head of Brand, Henrik Wenders for a public discussion was Polar explorer and celebrated photographer, Sebastian Copeland. An interesting choice for a guest at an international mobility exhibition and forum perhaps, but the perfect choice given Audi’s approach to the future.
Copeland’s research and his work photographing the wilds of the planet’s most remote regions has helped shed light on these fragile environments and the need for positive action on climate – something Audi takes very seriously now and in all of its future planning. His insights perfectly aligned with the brand’s approach to future mobility and the rationale behind such initiatives as the circular approach within all aspects of the vehicle manufacturing process.
Then there were discussions on the future of performance vehicles, led by Audi Sport management, Julius Seebach, Sebastian Grams and Rolf Michl, with two-time World Iron Man champion, Patrick Lange, bringing his take on performance from a more human perspective. This panel delved into the way the brand continues to pursue its tradition of high-performance, but adapting new models to suit the new challenges of the modern world while remaining true to the history of the Audi Sport brand. High-performance with all of the thrill and emotion that has made Audi Sport such a global success, while embracing not only zero emissions for future models but also in their construction.
The presence of the RS e-tron GT serving as the perfect illustration of that point, the first-ever all-electric RS model, also one of the most powerful series production models ever produced by the brand, and yet its construction at the brand’s Böllinger Höfe site has been net zero since 2020.
Not surprisingly, the RS e-tron GT proved one of the major drawcards throughout this year’s IAA Mobility, and visitors to Audi’s House of Progress were able not only to explore every inch of the all-electric supercar, but take it out on test drives during the event.
It wasn’t the only e-tron model available for test drive though, the Audi e-tron mountain bike also proved extremely popular, with the bikes available for hire – the perfect way to cover the massive area of such a major international motor show.
Certainly it’s a completely different take on the traditional car show, but then Audi’s approach to mobility now and into the future demonstrates that willingness to do things differently – not only through the use of electrified drivetrains but in the way vehicles are manufactured, their design and the very materials used in their construction.
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