As its market's steady migration towards prestige cars continues, Audi UK is about to report its fifth successive record sales year, and claims to be currently outrunning Audi of America as the most successful distributor of the brand outside Germany.

Audi also claims to be is on course for 77,500 sales this year - an increase of around 11% on 2003's record figure. Britain looks set to deliver the largest contribution outside the brand's home market to the predicted 2004 global sales total of 770,000 units.

This sharp rise is the latest in a series of leaps since 1995, when 25,555 Audis were sold in Britain. By 1999 this had jumped to 40,000 cars, and since 2000 the ascent has been consistently steep, rising from 43,168 sales to 54,037 in 2001, 65,656 in 2002 and 70,107 in 2003.

Rapid expansion of the model range is regarded as the key element in the marked upturn in demand.

This is one reason Audi UK thinks the average age of its buyers is now up to 10 years lower than other prestige manufacturers' customer bases. A recent survey showed the brand now sells to buyers aged an average 42 years, and more sub 45-year-old customers than other prestige competitors.

Audi also claims a technological edge - a comprehensive mix of petrol and diesel engines, the brand-defining quattro four-wheel-drive system, multitronic CVT automatic transmission (unique in the sector) and the new DSG double clutch gearbox.

"We expect to be able to sustain this growth trend as we diversify into new product segments in the coming months," a spokesman said.