Following on from my last Post, Mr Badger pointed out to me that for the first time since he has known me I haven't had an Audi parked on the driveway.
And he is right - for over a decade I've been a dedicated fan of the Audi - and between us we've lovingly owned an A4 estate, A6 estate, A4 cabriolet, TT Quattro as well as the Q7.
But all that has now changed - in favour of a Mercedes SL roadster (our 'posh' executive car; Mr Badger's choice not mine), a VW Touran (a 7 seater big enough for all the kids, but small enough for the nanny to drive) and my new runabout Jeep.
Which got me thinking exactly what has turned me off Audi.
And I think the problem is that Audi, perhaps in its quest for technical excellence, has become oh so BORING.
Their showrooms are now acres of safe black and silver 'executive' cars with dark grey interiors - all based on the same A4 saloon chassis (the Q7 just looks like a jacked up version of an A6 estate). Even the TT and new R8 models are displayed in boring black and gunmetal grey.
It seems your engineers are so interested in what is beneath the bonnet that they've forgotten that driving should be FUN!!!
OK, on one hand you may say that Audi has identified its core market - executive level, AB category men, who want brilliantly engineered understated class. But I think they are missing a trick.
I lost count of the number of people who came up to me on the school run or dropping off at parties to ask my opinion on the Q7 and whether they should buy one - but these weren't women - they were all MEN looking for a second car for the family, of which their wife would be the predominant driver.
And judging by the number of used Q7s currently on sale in our area (that's why I had trouble selling mine), all were obviously bought 'off-plan' and cashed in with incredibly low mileage - which must tell you, Audi, that there is a huge gap in your market for a brilliant utilitarian (not sports) car, designed especially for executive wives.
The Q7 is just too big and bulky to fit this bill.
So, if you can design a car for me with:
- The chunky, sporty fun looks of a Terios/Vitara/3 door RAV4, combined with...
- The compact size and finish of a Mercedes A Class - with 5 doors and 5 seats - that is easy to drive and park, combined with...
- An interior colourway (natural, neutral, taupe... think Armani colours) which I would be happy to see in my living room (why are all car interiors grey or black?);
- A full length sunroof as standard - I want to let the sun shine in!
- Lots of compartments for everything female - handbags, coffee to go, change, rubbish, tissue boxes, kids stuff
- Some interesting exterior 'catwalk' colours alongside all the boring ones - midnight purple, 911 Carrera yellow, metallic honey beige, Caribbean sea turquoise blue/green, urban khaki
- Permanent 4x4 (for safety), minimum 1.6 engine, as well as being envrionmentally friendly...
- Oh, and you MUST do it in automatic! For about £25k with all extras...
...I promise you I will be the first in line to buy one.