Audi invited me to join them and a group of women and a few male
journalists for a weekend of fun, networking and the best part: to test
drive the Audi A4 for a long country drive through wine country in Northern California and at Infineon Raceway.
The weekend included a stay at the St Regis in San Francisco, Yoga
lessons, wine tasting, and a visit to Solage, a top-rated spa and a
chaffered tour of Napa Valley through the picturesque countryside
dotted with California wineries. (Celeste Atkinson, Entertainment and
Lifestyle Manager with Audi and Jody DeVere, CEO/President of
The weekend included private screening of the movie "Iron Man" starring Robert Downey Jr who plays Tony Stark – the title character in the film, including our choice of flavored popcorns and cocktails. Iron Man's superpowers are the result of the highly versatile and indestructible high-tech armor that he developed himself. When he is without his suit, the technically-adept billionaire relies on the Audi R8. Iron Man also stars Oscar® winner Gwyneth Paltrow, Oscar® nominees Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, and Shaun Toub. “Iron Man“is directed by Jon Favreau from a screenplay by Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby and Art Marcum & Matt Holloway. The film is produced by Avi Arad and Kevin Feige. The executive producers are Louis D’Esposito, Peter Billingsley, Jon Favreau, Ari Arad, Stan Lee and David Maisel.
Dining at the Supperclub on a Saturday night was a
one-of-a-kind experience like no other. When we first arrived were
greeted by a drag queen diva in a dramatic dark hallway, and then
escorted into the bar for farm-fresh martinis. Red leather walls and an
excess of disco balls hung just right had the glitterati buzzing with
anticipation for what was in store.
The doors flew open at eight o clock, and we were escorted to our beds to kick off our heels, lounge and just take in the view. The five-course meal was drawn out over four hours, and during that time, we became intimately involved with the folks in the show -- the drag queens, scantily clad aerial acrobats, and fishnet-flaunting servers were not there just for our viewing pleasure, but encouraged us to let loose, relax and experience a rather decadent (and in my opinion off-color) show. Great place for bachelorette parties, however not an Audi "female friendly" experience for me at all. I am no prude, but felt the women entertainers were presented as sexual objects and it made me feel very uncomfortable.
I did enjoy meeting the Audi female design team , Heather Shaw and Sabine Lapine, (pictured on left), based at the Audi Santa Monica Design Center. Their presentations and insight and on how Audi, based in Germany, gets ideas and input on American lifestyle and overall needs as Audi car buyers was a fascinating journey on how art, color and lifestyle influences the design of new Audi vehicles.
The most fun for me over the weekend was, you guessed it!, driving the sporty and superlative, progressive and emotive A4 which takes Audi into a new dimension in the midsize car segment. The two FSI direct injection gasoline engines provide supreme performance with fuel consumption that is more than 10 percent lower than the previous model. The highly efficient engines are clear evidence of Audi’s outstanding technical expertise. The dynamic suspension and many other technologies have been adopted directly from the large luxury class. The Audi A4 reaches the U.S. market in Fall 2008 and is an absolutely female friendly and wonderful driving experience.
Sending a warm thank you to Joanne Helperin of Edmunds Driving Woman blog for suggesting Audi invite me to join them at this event, I so enjoyed our country drive together in the A4! Really want a chance to drive the Audi R8 at Infineon Raceway next, Audi's Performance Driving School is based there!
About Audi of America
Audi of America, Inc. offers a line of luxury vehicles that include the Audi A3 sport compact; the sporty A4 sedan, Avant and Cabriolet models; the high performance S4 sedan, Avant and Cabriolet models, the high-revving RS 4 sport sedan and Cabriolet; the all new S5 Coupe with 354 hp; the design-leading A6 sedan and Avant; the V-10 powered high performance S6 sedan; the Audi Q7 performance SUV; the new all aluminum Audi A8 and A8L; the new S8 with V10 power; the all-new 2008 TT Coupe and Roadster models; and the all-new, all-aluminum R8, one of the most exclusive mid engine sports cars in the world. For more information, please visit www.audiusa.com
Thank you Audi for an interesting and fun weekend.