And they’d like you to ignore the moves they’re currently making to kill them.
At the 2019 Volkswagen AG Conference, luxury marque Audi faced some rather uncomfortable questions by the attended pressmen, with the seemingly-unimaginative marque pushed further and further aside insofar as core model strategies are concerned. With Audi of late, the only major headlines have been concerning e-tron, with the mainstay of the range only occasionally getting hyped. The Q8 debuted to much fanfare, but the nearly-as-new A8 and A6 flew pretty much under the radar.
With that in mind, bigger questions were raised about Audi Sport, given that its range is slowly but surely being shrunk. The R8 is on the way out (with its all-electric replacement coming in 2022 to be parked under Audi’s zero-emissions e-tron wing), while the RS4 and RS6 both make do with smaller V6 mills, a far cry from the screaming V10s and burbling V8s they used to have.
Audi admits that where Audi Sport is concerned, they “need to change” the way they approach performance and package their vehicles, but they’re keen to retain the “sporty DNA” that the brand is known for. As a result, cars like the Quattro and R8 will be kept alive in some form or another (the latter, as we said, will come back as an e-tron). Even the TT might be kept on, though it’s unclear in what form.
They do realise that the appeal of Audi Sport cars have diminished over the years, due to the firm coming up with critically-acclaimed cars that simply do not capture the imagination of buyers. Audi boss Bram Schot is aware of this, and admits that Audi “cannot afford to develop cars which do not respond to customers’ wishes.”
Autocar reports that Audi have every intention of maintaining the ‘emotional’ driving appeal of its S & RS models, but perhaps pairing them with electrified powertrains to deliver an experience that lacks in no areas, offering up better suspension & steering technology that enable greater driver control, while also serving more performance than direct rivals.