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Audi RS range will more than double by 2018

By raccars Published

RS Range

Audi model range will reach 15 by early 2018 as the brand takes on AMG and BMW.

AMG rival Audi Sport will more than double its RS performance range in just over a year, according to division head Stephan Winkelmann. He has revealed that a further eight Audi RS models are set to be launched by early in 2018.

The RS range currently includes seven models, including the soft- and hard-top TTs, the R8, and hot versions of Audi’s A7, A6, Q3 and A3. This trend will continue and will involve other models by 2018, although Winkelmann would not reveal which specific models will be involved. Likely candidates include the Q5, A4 and A1 and there is also the possibility of a more focused Audi R8.

Former Lamborghini CEO and president Winkelmann took over control of the RS brand at the start of this year and, in an effort to develop the business, RS is being joined by Audi Exclusive, Quattro and Audi Sport’s customer car division to create a single organisation.

Audi prepares to ‘over-deliver’

Winkelmann has pledged to develop RS to take it on a different path to AMG, which is experiencing soaring sales. He said that the Audi brand will go in a different direction and had a number of plans, but he would not be drawn on the details, adding that it was the best policy to ‘under-promise’ and then ‘over-deliver’.

AMG has seen its sales double in the last couple of years, reaching 80,000 units. In contrast, Audi is hoping to top 20,000 units this year, although Winkelmann is keen to point out that double-digit growth for the next year is on the cards.

AMG, the Mercedes-Benz high-performance division which was formally known as Mercedes-AMG GmbH, is considering more of its stand-alone models but Winkelmann refused to comment on the prospect of a second totally unique RS product, simply saying ‘let’s see’.

Speculation on future models

Speculation is now rife as to what cars will make it into the RS range over the coming 18 months. There has been the suggestion of an RS1, and an RS Q5 is a distinct possibility after the success of Audi’s diesel SQ5. There could also be an R8 RS, which might take cues from the GT3; an RS5 Sportback; together with an RS4 and RS5.

It is believed that the growth seen in BMW M and AMG models may have prompted Audi’s decision to boost the range of RS models - and fast. Mercedes-AMG ‘45’ range, for example, now features four models and BMW’s M SUVs have undoubtedly benefited from a lack of direct Audi competition to date.

Audi RS and S models

Audi’s RS models are high-performing variants of existing models with a firm focus on ‘sport’ performance. The first RS appeared in 1994 in the form of the RS 2 Avant. The RS stands for RennSport, which is literally translated from German to mean ‘racing sport’.

The RS is the brand’s top-tier high performance trim level, which sits above the Sport ‘S’ spec, and all of the models aim to pioneer the company’s most advanced engineering and technology. The Audi RS models are also amongst the most powerful Audi vehicles ever offered for sale and they exhibit a somewhat ‘racier’ style inside than the more luxury-focused S models.

There was a time when Audi would only be producing a single RS model in any given period, but this policy has now changed and the company has confirmed that the RS sub-brand is fully committed to delivering what its customers want.

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