Audi to expand hot SUV portfolio with more new RS variants

Audi RS Q8 spy shots

RS Q8 would rival BMW M and Mercedes-AMG SUVs

RS Q8 set to launch as pioneer of a new range of hot high-riders from Ingolstadt, from the Q3 upwards

Audi’s newly reorganised Sport performance car division is set to significantly broaden its line-up with the addition of an extended number of RS-badged SUV models within the next 12 months, its newly appointed managing director, Oliver Hoffmann, has revealed. 

Stirred into action by the success of performance SUV ranges from rivals BMW M and Mercedes-AMG, Hoffmann has confirmed that Audi Sport will begin offering range-topping RS versions of nearly every SUV model in the Audi lineup, starting with the heavily anticipated RS Q8

He said: “We have to stretch our portfolio and the SUV segment is the segment with the most growth. There is high demand from our customers for high-performance SUVs. The RS Q8 we will launch this year. There is really, really high demand for this type of car.” 

Nothing is official at this stage, but Audi Sport is rumoured to be developing its own specific RS versions of the new second-generation Q3, Q5, Q7 and Q8

The Q3 Sportbacka coupe-styled version of the Q3, will debut as an RS variant at September’s Frankfurt motor show. Expectations are that it will retain the inline five-cylinder unit of Audi’s smaller RS models, putting out around 400bhp and making the SUV capable of 0-62mph in around four seconds.

Hoffmann, who was recently promoted to the position of managing director after a stint as engineering boss following the departure of CEO Michael-Julius Renz, indicates driveline electrification will play a key role in enhancing the performance of Audi Sport’s RS SUV models. 

“If you have the SUV segment with the higher weight, it’s easier to implement a hybrid drivetrain. It’s easier because of the packaging and the higher weight,” he said in an interview held on the sidelines of the recent Nürburgring 24-hour endurance race. He added: “For sure, we will increase electric for our RS models in the future.”

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Source: Autocar

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