Audi: PKs are no longer the most important thing about a car

The Audi R8 V10

For a petrolhead, the amount of horsepower that an Audi produces, is often a good indicator of the potential of a car. Audi now thinks otherwise.

Can a car ever produce too much horsepower? Many petrolheads would probably say ‘no’. If you compare several cars in the same segment, the amount of horsepower that a car produces can play a decisive role.

Who is in the market for a (fat) Audi, however, should no longer be surprised if Audi soon loses this horsepower competition. Against Reuters the Germans say that Pferden are no longer so important for their cars. According to Audi boss Markus Duesmann, computers have taken over that important role of horsepower.

He said this in the context of his Project Artemis. With this project, Audi wants to market an electric flagship. And according to Duesmann, a flagship can no longer be compared on the basis of the power of the engine, but on the basis of technology. Based on the unique functions of a car, how well it can drive itself, how ‘smart’ it is.

Technology must therefore also play a greater role within car models themselves. That the top model of, for example, the Audi A6 has more sensors and better computers than a budget model. Think of an entry-level A6 that can barely drive itself and a top-model A6 that can take you from A to B completely independently.

Of course it is currently the case that nicely decorated cars can do more than the entry-level models. But it seems that Audi will put even more emphasis on this later. And that more expensive Audis will actually be delivered with better sensors and computers than the cheaper stuff.

This is actually the exact opposite of what Tesla does. A Tesla always comes with many sensors and hardware, regardless of whether the consumer has paid for this. This hardware can then be ‘unlocked’ via a kind of online store. On the one hand, this means that you sell cars with items that the buyer has not (yet) paid for. On the other hand, this makes your production more efficient, since your products are more similar.

Anyway, back to Audi. This different way of looking at the top model of a car also means a different way of working for Audi. In any case, Audi (and VAG) lags behind Tesla in terms of software, while software is an important branch of Project Artemis. Because if your software is jerk, your fantastic hardware is of little use.

That is why he gathered a ‘small’ team of 200 developers and engineers for Project Artemis. This team must overtake Tesla in terms of software and make a car that can process the data from radar systems, lidar and cameras. Ultimately, Audi wants cars to be able to drive independently and avoid accidents.

The team will have until 2024 to do this. Then a car platform must be ready. This is a short period of time, Duesmann claims. That is why Project Artemis may also cooperate with third parties, if that means that the platform will be ready faster. Audi wants to make an Audi with the platform, although it will eventually also be able to be used by other VAG brands.

This means that VAG now has two divisions working on software for new cars. Project Artemis and Car.Software, a department with a somewhat clumsy start. Yet it does show that VAG really takes Tesla seriously and that the software battle has started. Too bad for us petrolheads, but soon we will measure an Audi by the number of processor cores, no longer by the amount of horsepower and Nm.


  1. karaya says

    Nice marketing story.

    Just give me a Sport quattro.


  2. grass eater says

    For many, the number of horsepower is also not important at all. This concerns seats, luggage space, costs per kilometer, at the latest. So saying that horsepower is no longer the most important thing in a car has never been.

    Incidentally, in terms of speed and horsepower, I am really surprised at how fast some cars are now in 100 with relatively little horsepower. Double clutch, 4wd and launch control really make a difference. See you also at the TT rs. With 340hp under 4 seconds in 100. That is bizarre for a 1500 kilo car.

  3. Jantje_555 says

    for me it is the sound in cars first, then number of cylinders, then manually or the other, then hp and Newton meter and experience and only then how many computers does this have?

  4. wheelzzz says

    Sounds like a very sensible move from Audi. The buyer in the segment where they operate simply expects at least Tesla capabilities. If Audi can not deliver that and thinks it can compensate with, for example, ‘build quality’ or horsepower, then it will simply not be em anymore. An inveterate Tesla hater may fall for this in the future, but ordinary consumers will know no better by then than just buying it from an American brand and wondering why it isn’t available at Audi.

    They are a bit late at Audi, but better late than never. I am very curious what it will bring.

    • brown worker says

      Agree, they’re not going to keep up with the horsepower race and want to slow it down.


      • Jantje_555 says

        where do you indeed draw the line, that’s why you hear more and more 0 to 200 times, and with many cars and sports cars they are under 10 seconds!

  5. Volvo_440_turbo says

    I don’t know where I picked it up, but in Germany people often choose more horsepower and thicker engines than here in Belgium for example. For me also prefer a bit more horsepower / torque than display and computer gadgets even though I am partly in IT.
    But people who think like that, including myself, are hopelessly obsolete about this thinking perhaps? The smartphone generation will be only too happy with Audi’s statement, I think, because research has shown that for them, a smartphone is more important than a car. If that car then becomes a very large smartphone, those children will be happy of course!

  6. Pascal says

    So in mid-2020, Audi will announce that they will put a similar focus on software and self-driving that Tesla has had since at least 2012. Could that be the “lead through technology”? That they now claim in 4 years to overtake Tesla in that area tells me that the arrogance at Audi is still good.


  7. willemveenstra says

    In terms of handling, they have always been boring. I didn’t buy them anyway.

  8. pa045 says

    The screen and the buttons. That has been important for years ..

  9. baklava says

    Weight and chassis are the most important

    • Ilquadrifoglio says

      For that you have to leave an Audi completely. As a rule, they are not dynamic and there is a complete lack of experience.

  10. ericc says

    Their flagship will not become a car with a petrolhead running hot. Let alone that it can afford their flagship. PK’s is also only for the petrolhead, a goat wool sock would prefer a cargo bike and the average Jan or Miet with the cap looks at seats, consumption, space in the trunk and what they all get with the car. (also how much the car is allowed to tow).
    In other words, the vast majority do not lie awake from PKs. Has been like this for years. Are they only now discovering this at Audi?

  11. monsieurleloure says

    “Audi: Pk’s are no longer the most important thing about a car”

    Neither do understeer (-;

  12. drip tray says

    Weight in the first place, and then sound are more important than horsepower in my opinion. You do not have a lot of power to carry a lot of power if your car is a heavyweight.

  13. yzord says

    Boeiuh PKs, torque is what I want.


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