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Make no mistake about it, the new Audi Sport initiative intended to tie Ingolstadt’s uber impressive motorsport creds to an aggressively growing portfolio of performance street cars is just getting started. Branding is in place, executives are being positioned and dealers trained. The game is afoot, and in as much RS-cars are about to start dropping at a cadence those of us in the USA haven’t seen before.
No doubt Audi of America emphasized this when it revealed its plans (along with the new RS 3 sedan) to its U.S. dealer base as part of the Audi Summit that took place recently in Austin, TX and theaters around the country. More recently, a believed legit chart mapping out upcoming new models for the U.S. market details things even further.
Specifically, the map defines timeframes for several new RS models. These include the TT RS Coupé (April 2017), the RS 3 sedan (August 2017) and RS 5 Coupé (2018). It also included an R8 Spyder and V6T version, though we’ve already touched on those so will skip them for this RS-update.
Interestingly, this is just part of the story. The same reveal of the RS 3 sedan that we mentioned above included Audi of America product chief Filip Brabec confirming that his Audi of America team will add substantially to their U.S. RS product portfolio. In the leaked dealer conference video, he stated, “Of course, our RS model portfolio is going to grow even more. Not only will recent RS models such as the TT RS and the RS 5 have successors, but we will add to your showroom up to seven new RS models between now and 2019, including new body styles and even an SUV.
We’re going to assume from this that Brabec isn’t talking about the TT RS or the RS 5 Coupé when he comes to his number of “seven new RS models”. So what do we think will be added? Here’s our quick guess.
- RS 3 Sedan – Confirmed, with timeframe listed above on future product map. Status: CONFIRMED
- RS 4 Avant – With Audi of America’s growth comes the freedom to add a few models. Combine that with the re-interest of the market in Avants and we hear the RS 4 has a chance but has not yet gotten the green light. Status: POSSIBLE
- RS 5 Cabriolet – We had it last time around. As Audi’s #1 convertible market, it seems a shoe-in for the next go. Status: LIKELY
- RS 5 Sportback – We hear there’s one slated for the B9 generation. That said, the Sportback will be a new product to this market, so it’s not as sure a thing as the Cabriolet. Status: POSSIBLE
- RS Q5 – Brabec confirms one RS SUV. RS Q3 already exists and we know SQ7 is coming. Even still, we suspect it will be the RS Q5 that fills this gap now that the Q5 is Audi of America’s #1 selling model. Expect a like drivetrain to the upcoming RS 5 given any RS Q5 would use the same basic B9 configuration of MLB-evo matrix. Status: POSSIBLE
- RS 6 Avant – Yup. You heard us right. Audi knows they have a legend on their hands with the current car and America is seriously considering adding the A6 allroad to the U.S. market, which would drastically help the case for an RS 6 Avant… something we’ve been told in hushed tones that Audi would like to try to make happen. On the downside, the numbers have to make sense for this to happen and an RS 6 Avant may very well negatively affect the chances for the RS 4. Status: POSSIBLE
- RS 7 Sportback – This one is obvious. Status: LIKELY
- RS Q8 – If there’s not an RS Q5 then our money on an RS-SUV is on the Q8. That new model is confirmed on the aforementioned chart in non-RS version for 2018. In as much, an RS version **could** be in the USA by 2019 as per Brabec’s claim. Status: POSSIBLE
Obviously, Audi could do others. The RS Q3 will likely get a successor, and so too will the TT RS Roadster or even a further body style of the TT. There are others that seem duplicitous like an RS 4 sedan, RS 6 sedan or RS Q7, or perhaps niches that may prove to make little sense for America (RS 3 Cabriolet, RS 3 Sportback). For our list, we stuck to what we thought would have a fighting chance. In the end, we only came up with a list of eight, just one shy of Brabec’s number. Figure that RS Q5 or RS Q8 are an either/or scenario given his suggestion of just one SUV and our list quickly matches up in number to his. Whether or not we’ve called it… time will tell.