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The Volkswagen Group is comprised of 11 brands producing 240 vehicles across 49 factories throughout the world. So the best way to show off the range of the VW family is to cram a few thousand journalists and VIPs into a massive makeshift stand to outline the Group's goals, what's in the pipeline and what you'll be able to buy later this year.
To that end, VW pulled out all the stops on the eve of the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, bringing along 10 vehicles from across the range. We'll be delving into the details of each over the next two days of show coverage, but before that happens, you can read all about what we saw tonight from the cheap seats after the break.
Wolfgang Egger, Audi's chief designer, is leaving the company according to a Automotive News Europe, which cites a report from Germany's Automobilwoche. Egger won't be going far, though, remaining within the Volkswagen family and taking up head design position Italdesign Giugiaro, a VW subsidiary as of 2010.
Egger took over the position at Audi from Walter de Silva, and has been responsible most recently for the Audi A6 and A3, as well as the 2010 Quattro Concept and the E-Tron Concept. He previously was head of design at Lancia and then at Alfa Romeo, where he was responsible for the achingly gorgeous 8C Competizione.
If Egger does move to Italdesign, his successor is likely to be Marc Lichte, the Volkswagen designer behind the current Golf. Of course, these personnel changes haven't been officially confirmed, and Audi is thus far refusing to comment on either Egger or Lichte's possible career shifts. We'll stay with this one, so sit tight.
Where to even begin with the Audi R8 V8.
Let's start with the Ferrari 458 Italia, a car that doubles the base price of the Audi. It's much more fun to drive than it is to talk about; discussions among enthusiasts usually begin with someone saying, "It's amazing!" and end with everyone else agreeing. Opposite that is the vast, swirling nebula of cars that are often more fun to talk about than they are to drive.
In between, there are very few cars that are as fun to discuss as they are to drive, and this Audi is one. It's a car that challenges our notions about its actual competitive set and, even better, its philosophical competitive set, its driving experience, its price, its future, its present viewed from the future, and its verifiable and/or potential pedigree.