For a luxury car company, Audi still devotes a lot of its time and attention to highlighting the practical aspects of the vehicles. For example, the Audi Ur-Quattro dominated the world rally in the 1980s, and today’s R18 e-tron Quattro came in first in the sports car’s World Endurance Championship. When you buy an Audi, you’re getting more than just a four-ring symbol: you’re getting an aesthetic package of elite performance and TDI diesel.
On the other hand, like all luxury automotive brands, Audi enjoys its fair share of spotlight – specifically, under the gaudy and over-the-top lights of showbiz. The automaker often has its products in the action movie limelight: most recently, in the multi-million blockbuster hit Iron Man 3. What are some other famous appearances on the big screen? And how many have you seen?
Will Smith stars in this movie, which depicts a sophisticated future where robots roam the streets. Audi also appears to be the best-selling brand in the United States. In this 2004 blockbuster, Audi lent its signature 4 rings to police cars, taxis, and Will Smith’s character, Detective Del Spooner. Spooner drives an Audi RSQ, which was created to be a mix between their TT and the R8 supercar. Though it was only a prop vehicle, the RSQ accurately predicted some of today’s hottest automotive technology trends: for example, it had an autonomous driving system (though it was frequently disabled by the main character to complete stunning feats of driving).
The Iron Man Franchise
The Avengers franchise has brought millions of dollars and breathed new life into the comic book adaptation scene. Perhaps no Avenger is as intriguing as Tony Stark’s Iron Man. Robert Downey, Jr. brings his irreverent humour and signature quirk to the role, creating a character that is as enviable as he is relatable.
The Iron Man series has been Audi’s most recognisable product placement in recent years, and arguably in history. The Audi A8 makes several appearances in Starks garages throughout the three films. And when he isn’t gallivanting in his signature suit, Stark is driving the Audi R8 supercar. In the first movie, Stark drives an R8 coupe to a charity benefit, while the second installment features an R8 Spyder. In the third movie, Stark has an all-electric version of the R8, which is impressive, considering Audi has yet to sell one.
Liam Neeson, who is known for his brooding roles, plays Bryan Mills, a former US government operative who is trying to forge a relationship with his teenage daughter, Kim. Against his better judgement, he allows her to go Europe with a friend. His worst fears are realised when sex traffickers abduct her shortly after she and her friend arrive in Paris on vacation. Working against a ticking clock, Neeson uses all his old skills to rescue her.
One of those old black ops skills was apparently driving down cobblestone stairways and navigating tight corners in an Audi S8 D3.
Robert De Niro and John Frankenheimer joined forces to create this 1998 crime and action film that has become a classic in the genre. Frankenheimer is perhaps best known for his 1966 Formula 1 racing movie, Grand Prix. It stands to reason that Ronin would feature awesome scenes of vehicles at high speeds, and it did. In true Frankenheimer fashion, chase scenes were not fantastical, but gritty with realism. While many Hollywood chase scene feature crazy special effects and over-the-top budgets, Frankenheimer asked only for a skilled stunt driver. One of these stunt drivers drove an Audi S8 Quattro.
The S8 Quattro makes memorable appearances in two scenes, driven by the character Larry. In one, the 360-horsepower sedan makes its way through darkened Paris streets. In the other, it hustles through the streets in the climax scene, in which De Niro and a team of mercenaries are pursuing a man with a particularly valuable suitcase. While stunt drivers did much of the dangerous driving, Skipp Sudduth, who portrayed Larry, did most of the live driving scene in the S8, himself.
Finally, Audi gets a super futuristic treatment in Ender’s Game. The science-fiction movie, which had a star-studded cast in Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley, enlisted the help of Audi to create a futuristic vehicle that would seamlessly fit into the high-tech landscape.
The result was the Quattro Fleet Shuttle, which Audi says was designed to integrate into the movie, which is set about 75 years into the future. The top of the Shuttle is completely transparent, has all-terrain tyres that makes contact with only certain areas of the ground, and has exquisite detailing. If it sounds too good to be true, here’s the rub: the car was completely virtual. Harrison Ford’s character was actually filmed in an A7Sportback) and CGI artists modelled in the Shuttle post-production.