Audi Sport gears up for electric future

Performance division readies product offensive with six new models

Audi Sport is embarking on its most aggressive product offensive in its 25-year history with six new RS-badged SUVs and supersaloons scheduled for launch before the end of the year.

Following the reveal of the new RS6 Avant a few weeks ago, the first RS6 to be sold in the US, and the RS7 Sportback at the Frankfurt motor show, Oliver Hoffmann, joint managing director of Audi Sport alongside Julius Seebach, confirmed both an RSQ3 and RSQ3 Sportback will join the portfolio along with an RSQ8 before the end of the year. A facelifted RS4 Avant will arrive towards the end of Q1 in 2020. These new models will join the current Audi Sport models – TT RS, RS3, RS5 and R8.

> New Audi RS7 Sportback joins Audi Sport model offensive

‘We will offer an Audi Sport RS model in the segments where there is customer demand and the car can be developed as a true RS model,’ Hoffmann said during the reveal of the RS7 Sportback on the eve of the Frankfurt show.

‘What we won’t do is offer RS models if we don’t think it is right for the brand. The SQ5, for example, is a very good Audi S car but we don’t have to produce an RS version. Audi AG doesn’t tell us which cars we have to produce.’

With three new Audi RS SUVs to be revealed before the end of the year, we will have to wait until the spring of 2020 before a new RS4 Avant arrives, which will still be sooner than is the norm due to Audi Sport’s ambitious plans to more than halve the time it takes for its cars to come to market after the series model has gone on sale.

‘Traditionally it takes 18 months for an RS derivative to be launched after the series car is revealed, but our customers want their RS models sooner so we have to reduce the time it takes to develop our cars.

‘We will reduce this time to around six months,’ said Hoffmann. To achieve this goal Audi Sport is now involved in the first stages of a new series model’s design and development. ‘We have to be involved at the very beginning of the series car’s development process – it allows us to start the development of the RS model much sooner and influence the series car’s design to better suit the requirements of an RS model.’

While Audi Sport forges ahead with its model offensive it is also planning its next generation of powertrain options. ‘We will introduce plug-in hybrid Audi Sport models,’ confirmed Hoffmann. ‘We are also working on our electrification strategy for the future. We will have our first electric Audi Sport car soon, the e-tron GT, and this will be followed by a family of electric Audi Sport models.’

What Hoffmann wouldn’t be drawn on was the future of the R8. ‘It’s our halo car and this is important to us, but we haven’t made a decision yet on the next R8.’

Recommended

Alpine A290 prototype review – first taste of the electric hot hatch
Alpine A290 prototype
Reviews

Alpine A290 prototype review – first taste of the electric hot hatch

evo drives Alpine’s highly anticipated hot hatch in prototype-form as it concludes cold-weather testing in Sweden
22 Feb 2024
The new Alpine A290 hot hatch is just around the corner
Alpine A290 – front
Spy shots

The new Alpine A290 hot hatch is just around the corner

Alpine’s Renault 5-based hatch will arrive this year – here’s our first look at the new EV in prototype form
16 Feb 2024
2024 Abarth 600e revealed as the marque’s most powerful model yet
Abarth 600e
News

2024 Abarth 600e revealed as the marque’s most powerful model yet

Developed as a tribute to the brand’s colourful racing history, the new 600e crossover features the highest output of any Abarth to date
8 Feb 2024
BMW i5 and 5-series Touring revealed – here’s what to expect from the M5 estate
BMW 5-series Touring – front
News

BMW i5 and 5-series Touring revealed – here’s what to expect from the M5 estate

BMW's new 5-series Touring will spawn an M5 estate later this year – this is what we know so far
6 Feb 2024

Most Popular

Driving MST’s stunning Mk1 Ford Escort recreation – car pictures of the week
MST Mk1 Ford Escort – front
Features

Driving MST’s stunning Mk1 Ford Escort recreation – car pictures of the week

In the latest issue of evo, we get behind the wheel of the glorious MST Mk1 – here are some of our favourite shots…
18 Feb 2024
Toyota GR Yaris v Audi S1 – four-wheel-drive hatches go head-to-head
Toyota GR Yaris v Audi S1
Group tests

Toyota GR Yaris v Audi S1 – four-wheel-drive hatches go head-to-head

They’re two dinky performance cars with startlingly similar recipes, but how does the decade-old Audi S1 compare to today’s much-hyped Toyota GR Yaris…
17 Feb 2024
Alpine A290 prototype review – first taste of the electric hot hatch
Alpine A290 prototype
Reviews

Alpine A290 prototype review – first taste of the electric hot hatch

evo drives Alpine’s highly anticipated hot hatch in prototype-form as it concludes cold-weather testing in Sweden
22 Feb 2024