Audi’s quattro GmbH division is celebrating its 30th anniversary, with the promise that in future it will bring the company’s high-performance models to market more quickly.
In an interview with Headlineauto, Axel Strobek, the Audi board member for finance and organisation said “RS models in the past were delivered in the second half of a car’s production cycle, but now we have shortened the development time so we can bring them even closer to the main launch.”
30 Years of quattro GmbH
quattro GmbH is the subsidiary of Audi AG which builds all of the car maker’s high-performance models, i.e. RS and R8. In addition to building cars, they also provide a vehicle individualisation and accessories service, and furthermore a customer motorsport programme.
Since 1996, quattro GmbH has produced around 75,500 RS and R8 vehicles, with output rising from 2,500 cars per year in the year 2000 to around 11,500 in 2012.
The R8 LMS ultra, produced by Audi Sport customer racing has chalked up more than 150 victories in the past three years including both 24-hour races at the Nürburgring and Spa-Francorchamps in 2012.
For 2013, quattro GmbH is aiming for sales of 15,000 cars, achievable in part due to the growth in RS models, which now totals eight.
“It means that in future we will bring out our cars no later than two-and-a-half years after the start of the main model production,” adds Stephan Reil, the head of development for quattro GmbH. “In the past customers used to have to wait four or five years for new RS models.”
The statement comes in a year when no fewer than ‘four’ RS models will be released. The RS 5 Cabriolet was first out of the blocks, followed by the RS 6. Next up will be the RS 7, followed by the RS Q3 which becomes the first SUV to receive the RS treatment.
The £76,985 RS 6 Avant arrives in the summer, powered by a 552bhp 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine. Unlike its 572bhp V10-engined predecessor, in which we struggled to better 20mpg, the latest RS 6 uses two less cylinders, four of which it can shut down when its driver tires of baiting Ferraris. Such fuel-saving measures combined with its 90kg lighter body results in a super-estate which reaches 189mph yet consumes 28.8mpg on the combined cycle.
Audi’s policy, up until fairly recently, was to offer just one RS model at a time, using it to provide a sales boost to the range at the end of its life-span. The problem, as many owners can attest, is that customers would have to wait four years into a new model until an ‘RS’ version would appear, and then try and keep it for six years until there was a next generation version to replace it with.
In future, Audi intends to offer a broader range of offerings under the RS brand, still using them to provide an end-of-life boost, but providing the option for customers to switch between models and maintain their RS loyalty.