Ingolstadt doubling down on performance variants
Get ready for more hot Audis! The German automaker plans to double the lineup of its RS performance division within 18 months, reports Autocar, citing a conversation with division boss Stephan Winklemann.
Including the R8, the global RS lineup currently consists of seven models, with the other six being the RS 6 Avant, RS 7, RS Q3, RS 3 Sedan, and TT RS coupe and convertible.
Winklemann didn’t hint at what Audi models would be joining the RS lineup, but Autocar’s shortlist included the A1, A4, Q5, and an edgier R8. The A5 and A8 shouldn’t be ruled out, either.
The possibilities for the RS brand expanded considerably earlier this year thanks to an internal reorganization. The shuffle put Audi’s performance and customization arms — Quattro, RS, Audi Exclusive, and the customer-facing side of Audi Sport — under one roof (and Winkelmann’s leadership). Though the broader scope gives Winkelmann the bandwidth needed to build RS into a more significant challenger for Mercedes’ AMG, he’s looking in a different direction.
“We are not going to do what they do,” he told Autocar. “We have a lot of plans but are not revealing them yet. It is better to under-promise and over-deliver.”
For comparison, AMG’s global sales have doubled in a few years to 80,000 thanks to a growing portfolio. Meanwhile, Winklemann hopes that RS sales will clear the 20,000 mark this year thanks to double-digit growth.
Regardless of the direction Audi goes with the RS brand (and how many models end up offered in North America, we welcome the arrival of more performance-oriented hardware from Ingolstadt.