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Audi Has Lots of RS Goodness Coming, and Much of it is U.S.-Bound

© Motor Trend Staff   2020 Audi RS 6 Avant front three quarter

From Motor Trend

The folks at Audi Sport are busy and, fortunately, many of the RS-badged vehicles they make will cross the ocean to North America.

This year alone, Audi Sport is introducing six high-performance RS models including two new nameplates with a plan to double its performance vehicle sales by 2023. Per usual, the U.S. does not get them all. But the offerings are pretty tasty. Keep reading to find out about the various new vehicles Audi is bringing out, and when and where we can expect them.


A6 Avant

After years of pleading, North America gets a sport wagon, the A6 Avant coming next year as a mild hybrid with a 48-volt system. The Avant is the top of the A6 line which was originally for Europe only; the third generation was expanded for Asia and China and the fourth generation becomes even more global with plans to sell it in Canada and the U.S. The latest model has a more aggressive look after complaints RS was getting too soft. Bringing it further upscale provides more differentiation from S models.

Hildegard Wortmann, member of the Board of Management of Audi AG for Marketing and Sales, has high expectations for the A6 Avant in the U.S. given its fan base and years of yearning. Product planner Filip Brabec, vice president of Product Management for Audi of America, says he thinks it will exceed Audi's sales projections but would not share the figure.

And we are told there could be more Avants for the U.S. in the future.


A6 Allroad

Even with our first Avant, all indications are we will still get an A6 Allroad. The final decision has not been announced but top German executives, including Oliver Hoffmann, managing director of Audi Sport and head of technical development, say the wagon is headed for the U.S. We expect confirmation soon, after the dance that had to occur involving the U.S. team presenting a viable business case with a price point and projected volumes.


RS 7

© Motor Trend Staff

Audi used the Frankfurt auto show for the world premiere of the sexy fastback RS 7 which goes on sale in Europe late this year and comes to the U.S. next year, likely in the spring. MotorTrend used its time in Germany to spend a day driving the RS 7 which has a wide body and is now a five-passenger hatchback with the power of a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8. Read the 2020 Audi RS 7 review here.

The RS 7, another mild hybrid, arrives about a year and a half after the base A7, but in the future, Audi Sport wants to shorten the timeframe and get RS models out six months after a new model launches. It means less time to get any electronic bugs worked out, which presents a greater challenge for the engineering team.


RS 3/RS Q3

© Motor Trend Staff

Still to come: The U.S. might get the RS 3 when the next-generation compact sedan launches; executives are gauging reaction to the Q3 in this market first. Only Europe gets the RS Q3 Sportback which launches this year and is one of the new nameplates.

Audi will not make an RS Q5 or RS Q7 for any market. Resources are limited and consumers can opt for the SQ5 and SQ7.


A3 and A4

The A3 will be all new and is coming to the U.S. likely in 2021, while the convertible is being discontinued for 2020. The A4 gets a refresh next year. Wortmann says Audi has no plans to stop selling small cars like the A3 in the U.S. even though some automakers are abandoning the segment. "There is still enough demand," she says. "We need to offer a broad choice."


RS 4 Avant

We also don't get the RS 4 Avant. Europeans will see the RS 4 get a mid-cycle refresh next year, and the next generation will be a plug-in hybrid, says Hoffmann. The RS 5 will also get a facelift.


R8

© Motor Trend Staff

The R8 with its naturally aspirated V-10 remains the flagship and spirit of the portfolio, Hoffmann says. It just got a facelift, and Audi is working on concepts for the next generation and deciding how much electrification to give it. No decisions have been made on the next generation, he says. It might even get a new name—again no decision, he tells us. In addition to the facelift, expect some R8 derivatives to keep the flagship relevant.

The future will have two definitions of sporty—raw V-10 power as well as electric power in the form of the E-Tron GT which could become a future icon for the brand like the R8 and TT, Hoffmann says. Sports cars are key to Audi's DNA, says Audi design chief Marc Lichte. "There will always be sporty or sports cars, even with electrification."


RS Q8

The big news is there will be a new nameplate: the RS Q8, which we expect to see at the Los Angeles auto show. German executives tell us they think the body shape lends itself well to a sporty version. It will have Audi's sport differential, anti-roll bar, and air suspension. Like most RS models, it will have the luscious-sounding 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8.


Q5, Q7

The Q5, Q5 Sportback, and Q7 are all slated for refreshes next year. The Q5 gets a plug-in next year and is expected to be the volume model.


A8/S8

The A8 family includes an S8 for Europe this year, but no decisions have been made for a performance RS model. The A8 gets a first plug-in model later this year or early 2020, followed by the A7 PHEV in mid-2020. The A6 PHEV is for Europe only. In the U.S. customers will be steered toward the E-Tron.


A1/Q2

These little beauties are considered too small for the U.S. market. There are no plans to bring either here.


E-Tron

© Motor Trend Staff

Dealers are now stocked with the E-Tron SUV, and there is more to come.

We first saw the E-Tron Sportback concept in Shanghai in 2017. The production model should be shown soon (we expect at the L.A. auto show) and it is expected in U.S. showrooms late next year or in early 2021.

The E-Tron GT pure EV will be shown next year and production will begin in 2020, but U.S. sales will likely not begin until 2021. The E-Tron GT uses the same 800-volt system as the Porsche Taycan. Many plug-in hybrids are in the works; a third of the lineup will have a PHEV available in the U.S. by 2025.

The Q4 E-Tron compact crossover is expected in the U.S. in 2021. It uses the Volkswagen Group's MEB platform that is spawning a family of small electric vehicles including the VW ID 3 in Europe and an ID 4 expected for the U.S.



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