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Audi: hardcore RS models could be on the way

As Audi Sport sub-brand launches, we talk stripped-out specials and EVs

“Of course we did similar things in the past, the R8 GT for example. I could think of projects where you’d have the visible connection between the race car and the road car.”

These are the promising words of Stephan Reil, head of Audi’s Quattro gmbh division. Except he’s not, because it’s just changed name to Audi Sport, a revamped sub-brand that covers RS models, the R8 supercar, and all of Audi’s motorsport projects.

After seeing how successful the VW Golf GTI Clubsport S has been, we put it to him that Audi could take a similar approach by stripping out its RS cars.

“There’s no actual project at the moment, but why not? With the RS3, maybe with another car.” The TT RS, we suggest. “Maybe. There are a lot of possibilities. You will just have to see. This is always an impulse in the life cycle of the car. You won’t bring that in an early time of the life cycle, though.”

A hint that a road-going interpretation of the mighty TT Clubsport (main image) will land in the future? We do hope so.

TG also asked Reil what chance electrification has of making it into RS models, especially given the VW group’s big EV push at this year’s Paris show.

“The question is not whether we do it, it’s when,” he affirms. “This does not currently fit the right characteristic of an RS model. But of course the world will turn, and development of the technology will go on and on. The time will come that an electric performance car will make sense. But it is surely not today.” No R8 e-tron for some time, then.

In fact, no new R8 variants for a little while. With the R8 Spyder just launching, Reil says it will take a year for it to reach all of its global markets. So talk of downsized engines or harder cored variants meets only with ‘no comment’ for now, even if more versions are coming longer term.

A rear-wheel-drive version, like the R8’s Lamborghini Huracan cousin offers? “If you have a high power output it is a good idea to divide it between four wheels, not two,” he says. “On our standard street performance cars, I think Quattro is the choice.” That’ll be a no, then…

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