Audi Sport to double number of RS models by 2018

Audi RS3

If we include the V10-powered Audi R8 flagship and the just-launched TT RS, Audi Sport, the performance vehicle arm of German automaker Audi, has a grand total of seven RS-badged models in its portfolio.

Apparently that’s not enough for the newly-minted CEO of quattro GmbH – the company that oversees Audi Sport – Stephan Winkelmann. The former head of Lamborghini has declared that “there is more to come” for the RS sub-brand, with a whopping eight new hi-po models due by early 2018.

Right now, Audi sells the RS3 Sportback, RS Q3, Audi TT RS, RS6 Avant and RS7 Sportback. Add to that the coupe and Spyder versions of the R8 supercar, and there are seven Audi Sport vehicles already on the books.

The RS4 Avant is a virtual certainty to make a comeback as Audi rolls out more models for its new-generation medium car, but adding seven more vehicles to the RS family in 18 months will constitute the biggest model expansion in quattro GmbH’s 33-year history.

Audi -RS3-grilleSpeaking to UK outlet Autocar, Winkelmann wouldn’t divulge which models would be getting the RS treatment between now and early 2018, but new-gen versions of the RS4 Avant, RS5 Coupe and RS5 Cabriolet are virtually guaranteed.

The RS3 sedan is already locked into Audi’s product pipeline, and is scheduled to arrive in Australia in the first half of 2017 as a companion to the already-established RS3 Sportback.

Beyond those variants, the growing popularity of SUVs suggests an Audi RS Q5 and RS Q7 could be around the corner. An RS1 hot hatch could also lob as a gateway model to RS ownership, while a high-tune R8 flagship could also be added at the other end of the RS spectrum.

Audi -R8-driving -frontIt’s not quite the all-encompassing model strategy employed by rival Mercedes-AMG (which so far has committed to making -43, -45 and/or -63 variants of nearly all Mercedes-Benz models), but Audi Sport’s RS assault should allow the brand to capitalise on swelling demand for high-performance prestige cars.

And with Australia being a particularly hot market for those kinds of vehicles, there’s a solid chance they’ll be making their way to our shores too.

Right now Australia ranks fourth in the world for sales of Audi performance models – behind Germany, the UK and the USA – with S, RS and R8 cars accounting for a sizable 17 percent of local volume.

Exclude the softer S models and the RS/R8 lineup accounts for a still-significant 5 percent of Audi Australia’s total sales ledger this year – roughly 1000 cars – with much of that volume coming from the RS3 Sportback. That model alone accounts for a whopping 25 percent of all A3 sales.

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