The German automobile manufacture Audi AG knows a real car when it sees it. And one of the cars the company is viewing is its 1991 Audi 100.

An automobile in which form meets function amid the trappings of luxury, the Audi 100 carries on traditions of quality automobiles that began 90 years ago. Not an inexpensive motor car, it dwells right in the midst of better-class domestic and import vehicles.

The 100 is a front-drive sedan bearing the stamp of Teutonic fabrication and design. It gives the impression it is going to run forever. Forever perhaps is a long time, but this Audi model has a strong-as-a-bridge feeling in its body and mechanical elements.

It's neither the biggest car on the road, nor the fastest, but investigators will be hard put to find anything built any better.

It has features that will keep it going under conditions that would discourage even the most hardy. And under normal driving modes, the car offers pleasantries designed to enhance motoring.

The Audi 100 sedan that Frank Giganti, general sales manager of Giganti Group's Porsche-Audi outlet, provided for a test car had the overall flavor of a world car, so a driver can take to the automobile right away.

The controls have a certain country-of-origin stamp on them, but within a few minutes of driving, one quickly adapts to where everything is located.

Personal preference would be for the headlight controls to be elsewhere than on a short arm tucked between the turn signal stalk and the steering wheel. We manage to turn on the wipers almost every time the key is inserted in the ignition switch.

With its four-speed automatic, driving the car was like greeting an old friend. It's easy to drive and there is plenty of interior room for five.

The sedan was a fairly good example of the German belief that seating that lies a bit on the firm side is less fatiguing than pillow-like seating. But overall it was comfortable, and the individual front seats gave excellent support.

Audi is famous for its five-cylinder engine, a 2.3-liter power plant that provided quite decent if not breathtaking acceleration. Acceleration improves after the car is under way. And if you really want to put your foot in it, top speed is rated at 123 mph.

The hot shoes will find handling is everything they could want in a front-drive automobile. Steering wheel response was quick and accurate. And with the car's standard anti-lock braking system, stopping was as good as going.

While the 100 series matches competing luxury automobiles in the way of trim, controls and furnishings, I would have liked to have had power seats instead of six-way manual ones for a $29, 000 car .

Overall, however, it meets the standards of demanding drivers.

1991 Audi 100 Base price: $28,150As tested: $29, 340Type: Front-engine, front-drive, five-passenger, luxury sedanEngine: 2.3-liter, 10-valve, 130-horsepower, fuel-injected, five-cylinderMileage: 18 mpg (city), 23 mpg (highwa y)Acceleration: 0-60 mph in 10.3 secs.Length: 192.7 inchesWheelbase: 105.6 inchesCurb weight: 3, 153 poundsOptions: Heated front seats, heated door locks, heated wiper nozzles,Area dealers: Giganti Group