Our (unrelated) Italian counterparts claim that Audi’s technical chief Stephan Reil has ruled out the possibility of ever slapping an RS badge on any of its SUVs or crossovers. Audi’s high-riding range currently includes the Q7 and Q5 and is soon to be joined by a smaller Q3. The top of the line Q7 is available with a twin-turbo V12 diesel churning out a massive 500 horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque, but a big engine, says Audi, does not an RS make.
Of course the difference may come down to badging. S variants remain a possibility, but though they may have the engines and even the suspension and other ingredients, Audi insists that the RS badge is to remain exclusively for high-performance models, and that a big lumbering crossover – no matter how quickly it’s capable of covering all types of terrain – doesn’t fit the mold.