Audi RS Prioritizes SUVs over Supercars Because Money, Says CEO

2017 Audi R8 GT4 14 photos
Photo: Audi
2017 Audi R8 GT42017 Audi R8 GT42017 Audi R8 GT42017 Audi R8 GT42017 Audi R8 GT42017 Audi R8 GT42017 Audi R8 GT42017 Audi R8 GT42017 Audi R8 GT42017 Audi R8 GT42017 Audi R8 GT42017 Audi R8 GT42017 Audi R8 GT4
We all know that a performance SUV is nothing more than a thing you buy to satisfy your bursting ego, and not something that makes any sense whatsoever.
We're not necessarily talking about luxury SUVs that just happen to have a big power unit under the hood with a lot of horsepower - nobody would have expected the Bentley Bentayga, for example, to come with anything less than a V12 engine.

No, luxury vehicles are a completely different proposition. Nothing about them makes you want to go fast, and they don't even necessarily look as though they could. Performance SUVs, on the other hand, they are much shoutier than that.

People driving things like the BMW X5 M or the Mercedes-AMG GLE63 are more likely to have their right foot slip onto the throttle pedal and make those loud exhausts sing. And that has to do with the vehicle's exterior and interior look as much as it does with the engine powering the beast.

But since SUVs and crossovers appear to be the only types of vehicle that sell these days, it's only natural for manufacturers to offer performance versions as well. In case you had any doubt, that's exactly what Audi plans to do with its RS division.

Talking to BBC's Top Gear, Stephan Winkelmann - the Audi Sport director and former Lamborghini CEO - provided a clear vision of where he sees the division headed. His answer to the question of whether the priority is an RS SUV or a hardcore R8 'Performante' was just as sad as it was, ultimately, predictable:

"The first one, and I’ll tell you why. Once you create a brand, you have to create a line-up. We have the R8, and we will do derivatives in different directions. But we have to create a line-up which is more worldwide-sellable than today’s."

Audi Sport is basically doing what Porsche did with the Cayenne. It's making sure it has a constant income of cash before it can think of more exciting projects. "But we will not stop doing ‘the icons,'" Winkelmann explains. "They are part of what we’re all about. It’s not just about numbers, it’s about emotions. But we’re a small manufacturer, and we have to prepare the boat to sail in safe waters."

At the end of the day, if you're really that much into Audi performance cars, you can thank God there are those willing to part with their money for the go-fast SUVs that keep the division alive and just save yours for the rarer true incarnations of the Audi Sport spirit.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram
About the author: Vlad Mitrache
Vlad Mitrache profile photo

"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories