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Audi ups the ante on RS

Booster shot: The RS5 Cabrio will be among a trio of new RS Audi models to touch down in 2014.

Audi goes after AMG, BMW M, predicting 30 percent growth of worldwide RS sales

Audi logo30 Sep 2013

AUDI is planning to boost global sales of its Benz AMG and BMW M-rivaling RS quattro range by almost a third thanks partially to a trio of new sedan, cabriolet and SUV models – all of which are coming to Australia.

Quattro GmbH, the Audi arm responsible for RS models, the R8 and Audi racecars, produced around 11,500 cars in 2012 – fewer than half AMG’s figure – and is shooting to grow this figure to 15,000 by 2014.

Much of this growth will stem from scorching additions such as the RS7, RS5 cabriolet and RS Q3 crossover, all of which are destined for Australia next year.

Local buyers have a taste for hotted-up European cars, with Audi, BMW and Mercedes – as well as Volkswagen – all selling a proportionally high number of sports versions in relation to sales of their more run-of-the-mill offerings.

Audi has sold 118 RS models Down Under this year - up from 109 for all of 2012. In comparison, BMW sold about 550 M models in 2012, while Mercedes moved about 1200 AMG models last year.

Popularity of Audi’s 30-year old all-paw quattro models in general have been on the rise since the introduction of the brand, with nearly three-quarters of Audi models sold here in 2013 to have AWD underpinnings. RS models act as halos for the quattro division.

A multi-million dollar ‘Land of quattro’ advertising campaign is currently targeting Australian consumers and uses references to Audi’s racing heritage to highlight the quattro four-wheel drive technology and attract customers to the high-performance cars.

Sharing the same rev-wringing 4.2-litre V8 of the RS4, the RS5 Cabriolet will bring the same 331kW/430Nm performance circa the RS4 Avant, but with a little more wind in the hair and look-at-me appeal.

After the rag-roofed RS5 touches down next year, performance-fettled versions of the A7 and Q3 models will soon follow.

The five-door RS7 borrows the platform and 412kW/700Nm drivetrain of the RS6, while the hottest version of Audi’s best selling model - the Q3 - will use a 228kW/420Nm version of Audi’s 2.5-litre turbocharged five-cylinder.

Audi claims the RS and quattro brands find their roots in the Pikes Peak hillclimb demolishing Audi Sport Quattro S1, which won the acclaimed race in 1987.

Since the birth of the name, quattro has featured consistently in a variety of motorsport events worldwide from the British Touring Car Cup to the Le Mans 24-hour in France.

Audi Australia managing director Andrew Doyle explained that the introduction of the four new RS models is in recognition of the four-wheel drive brand’s thirtieth birthday.

“Quattro was responsible for establishing our sporting credentials,” he said.

“In 2013 we have the 30th anniversary of quattro GMBH and, as part of this celebration, we are launching 4 new RS models - RS6 Avant, RS7, RS5 cabriolet and the RSQ3.

“Globally Audi is looking to increase sales of our RS models to around 15,000 units or about 30 per cent more than last year.”

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