RS6 project manager Jens Koch told Inside Line: “We had thought perhaps that it would be possible, given America’s preference for the four-door version instead of the Avant, but the work required on the V10 powertrain to meet the emissions goals hurt the business case.”
However, Koch and Audi spokespeople also told IL that North America has much to look forward to in the coming RS business plans. Shortly after the world premiere of the RS5 in Detroit in January 2009, Audi expects to introduce the new RS4.
Regarding the third-generation RS6, arriving in 2012, Koch strongly hinted that not only would this car be a major global player and come immediately to North America, but that the primary concerns of the current vehicle’s massive weight problem, compromised handling in hot curves and fuel-gulping 5.0-liter V10 engine would all be laid to rest. He called the third-generation model “revolutionary” and said it will be “far more RennSport than anything previously developed.”
On the brand image front, Audi and Quattro personnel shared with IL some details of plans for the R, S, RS, and Quattro subbrands for better head-on rivalry with the Mercedes-AMG and BMW M divisions. After the Detroit debut of the RS5 and then the next RS4, Audi will push hard globally to make the Quattro name a more clearly separate sister brand positioned distinctly above the hottest factory Audis.
Within Quattro, the R label will signify souped-up Audi range toppers like the R8. The S label will represent something a touch more sporting than the current S. At the top will be the RS, the mother of all performance brands within the Audi world, losing that weight and taking on a far more authentic RennSport attack feel.