At the launch of Audi's new 444bhp RS5 Cabriolet, CAR's eagle-eyed road test editor Ben Pulman spotted an image of the future of Audi's RS brand. Four new RS models due to go on sale in 2013, joining the current crop of TT RS, RS4 Avant and RS5 coupe models.
What's next for Audi RS in 2013, then?
We know what the next model is under the sheet: the RS6 Avant. Unveiled in December 2012, the latest super-estate from Quatto GmbH uses a 552bhp bi-turbo V8 to haul from 0-62mph in 3.9sec, and hit 190mph. It'll go on sale in summer 2013, priced from around £75,000. But what's next?
It's understood that Audi won't offer a saloon version of the RS6. That might sound like a blow to American buyers, who are missing out on the RS6 Avant due to the relative unpopularity of estate bodystyles in the US. However, that means the next mystery RS silhouette could be the mooted RS7 Sportback. Mixing RS6 mechanicals with the sleeker A7 bodyshell, it'll boast identical power and performance figures, and will be offered for worldwide sale.
Is that an SUV-shaped Audi RS on the far left of the picture?
It appears so, though a sporty Audi SUV isn't as unusual as you might think. Ingolstadt has dabbled with super-tractors before: first with the crazy Q7 V12 TDI, which used a 5.9-litre twin-turbo diesel V12 derived from Audi's dominant Le Mans racers. Okay, so a 2635kg SUV is a long way from being a truly sporting machine, even considering its 493bhp figure, and ludicrous 738lb ft.
More sensibly, Audi's first diesel S-model, the SQ5, has just gone on sale. Click here to read CAR's review of the 309bhp, 479lb ft hot Q5.
Could it be an RS Q5 on the way next?
Well, perhaps, but don't forget Audi has already previewed a different RS-badged soft-roader: the RS Q3 concept.
First seen at the 2012 Beijing motor show, the RS Q3 concept used the TT RS Plus's 2.5 TFSI turbocharged five-pot petrol engine. Audi claimed the concept delivered 355bhp to the wheels via a seven-speed S-tronic transmission and Quattro all-wheel drive, good enough for 62mph in 5.2sec and 165mph all-out.
Audi wants to expand its RS model sales by 30% in 2013, thanks to the introduction of the aforementioned four new models. So far, RS sales have reached 11,500 in 2012. Audi is looking to see that figure hit 15,000 in 2013.
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