I slept for less than 5 hours on my eleven-hour flight from San Francisco. From Frankfurt, I still had about three-hour drive to Nuremberg. It could be more if there were traffic on A3 autobahn. I had known prior to my leaving San Francisco that I would need a car that could rejuvenate me from the weariness of air travel.
After a swift process of getting the car key from Europcar (europcar.com) rental car company, I walked through the long underground corridor under the massive Frankfurt airport to reach the Europcar parking garage section. There, my black “Transporter-TV-Series” car was shinning under the fluorescent light. I put my laptop bag and my 18” roller in the spacious trunk.
Then, I climbed into the nicely sculpted 14-way adjustable leather seat. As soon as I pressed the start button, not only the engine and the instrument panels came to life but also my senses awoke. The slightly ascending middle console that hosts the HVAC and MMI controls gave the feeling that I was piloting a modern jetliner. Even before I started driving, this Audi A8 had already made me forget about my long and tiring flight.
It didn’t take long before I noticed the 425 lb-ft of torque under the hood. The sense of acceleration was accentuated by the sonorous sound of 240 hp V6 TDI. This A8 TDI engine was surprisingly quiet during idle and leisurely drive. But when I opened up the throttle, the sporty turbo diesel engine deep growl gave me the tingling sensation.
Fifty-five Audi Club Golden Gate members got a chance to visit the Audi of America Livermore technical training center. This fun day started with a breakfast event in Audi Stevens Creek’s spotless service area. Audi Stevens Creek offers free track inspection to Audi Club North America members. After breakfast, the group left for a nice drive to the Audi Livermore training center.
After about a two-hour drive through a hilly and scenic route, we all reassembled at the center. The center is located in an unassuming business park in Livermore. As a matter of fact, it was not easy to spot the center as it is tucked in the middle of nondescript buildings and warehouses.
After a delectable lunch sponsored by Audi After Sales Care, we learned the history of the training center. Audi had its first center, a smaller one, in Pleasanton from the early seventies to the mid-nineties when the center was moved to this bigger facility. Every year, the center is getting refreshed with the newest technologies and equipment. Originally, the training instructors used paper and microfilm. Today, they use iPads; computer based training materials, and the latest high tech test equipment.
Audi has four levels of certification. When a dealership employee starts, they are required to attend a few basic classes. Then over the years, they will accumulate classes via on-line training and self-study programs. Everyone is working up the ladder of certification to achieve Master Guild status.