19 Jul 2022
When it comes to high-end performance, Audi has always aimed to be in the lead. After all, Audi has racing origins that go all way back to the 1980s, beginning with the revolutionary four-wheel drive Audi quattro (and its versions) which had 24 wins from 58 World Rally Championships during its run from 1980 to 1987. In present-day racing, the Audi R8 is currently one of the most successful sports cars in Le Mans history since the car debuted in 1999, clinching 63 victories out of 80 races.
Having a solid motorsport background has allowed the Audi to gain an edge with sportiness, advanced technology and emotive design. These days, the brand’s motorsport performance is commercially accessible via Audi’s RS range. RS stands for ‘renn sport’, which means racing sport in German, and RS models belong to the brand’s highest performance range.
All RS models have powerful engines which are honed on prestigious tracks in Germany, such as the world-famous Nürburgring circuit. With speed and power combined, it’s easy to assume that Audi RS models only belong on circuits or in motorsport. However, that is far from the truth as they are also great for everyday use.
Get to know Audi’s high-performance models as we walk you through the various RS models.
First introduced to the market in 2017, the Audi RS 3 Sedan may look like a conventional sedan at first glance but it is one of the brand’s most iconic models.
The car’s power comes from its award-winning five-cylinder 2.5 TFSI engine, which has won the “International Engine of the Year” award nine times in a row. It gives the Audi RS 3 Sedan maximum 400 hp, 500 Nm of torque, and allows it to go from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.8 seconds.
Like all RS models, the Audi RS 3 Sedan has Audi quattro all-wheel drive technology. But what makes it stand out is that its latest iteration is the first ever model to carry Audi’s groundbreaking RS torque splitter. The torque splitter enables variable torque distribution to give the car greater stability and agility, and also allowing for easier controlled drifts.
A number of Audi SUVs have also been given the RS treatment through the years, like the Audi RS Q3 and Audi RS Q8. Like the other RS models, these SUVs feature RS-specific driving modes and athletic designs that act as teasers to the impressive horsepower it hides under the hood.
The Audi RS Q3 also offers the legendary five-cylinder turbo charged engine, while the Audi RS Q8 is the brand’s epitome of presence — with its twin-turbo V8 engine, 600 hp, 800 Nm torque and a 3.8 second acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h.
While both RS SUVs have a high-performance focus, it doesn’t compromise its basic functions as a sport utility vehicle. There is space for up to five people, and has adjustable rear seats and backrests that can be folded down to extend cabin space for days you need that extra room — with the rear seat bench folded down, the Audi RS Q3 can accommodate up to 1,525 litres and the Audi RS Q8 can go up to 1,755 litres.
The Avant range is Audi’s solution to combining a luxurious high performance sport car that’s packed with the functionality of a family vehicle. The Audi RS 4 Avant and Audi RS 6 Avant are your companions when you need to go from one business meeting or family outing to the next — with a little boost thanks to its RS credentials.
Design-wise, both feature the signature RS front end with Singleframe and honeycomb grille. The sporty and muscular design continues to the back with the RS-specific bumper and rear diffuser that adds extra dimension to Avant’s overall sporty design.
In terms of performance, the more powerful of the two is the Audi RS 6 Avant which packs 600 hp, 800 Nm of torque and takes just 3.6 seconds to go from 0 to 100 km/h.
Audi’s two-door coupé dates back to the early 1980s when its early iteration made its debut. Since then, it has gone through various facelifts and the silhouette adapted into different models, with the latest generation of Audi RS 5 Coupé further elevating the coupé into high-performance status in 2021.
Owing to its compact stature, superb sport suspension, plus its twin-turbo V6 engine, it has been well adjusted to cornering and driving stability. This powerful drive has a maximum of 450 hp, 600 Nm of torque and can accelerate to 100 km/h in just 3.9 seconds.
The Audi Sportback models are best described as ‘all-rounders’ which combine the best-loved traits of sedans, coupés, and SUVs — the roomy interior of sedans, sporty sloping roofline of coupés, and rear doors of hatchback vehicles.
It comes as no surprise that a number of crowd favourites in the brand’s sportback category have also been bestowed the RS treatment, like the Audi RS 3 Sportback, Audi RS 5 Sportback, Audi RS 7 Sportback, and the Audi RS Q3 Sportback.
The Audi RS 3 Sportback boasts a turbo-charged five-cylinder engine, followed by a twin-turbo V6 for the Audi RS 5 Sportback, while the Audi RS 7 Sportback pushes the boundaries with its eight-cylinder, twin-turbo engine, 600 hp and 800 Nm of torque.
The Audi RS Q3 Sportback adds a new dimension to the well-loved compact SUV-coupé crossover, bringing together the best of both worlds that is further complemented by RS-specific elements that add to its overall athletic design. Performance-wise, it has a turbo-charged five-cylinder engine that gives it a maximum 400 hp and 480 Nm of torque.
While these Sportback models have a lot of power to offer (for example, the Audi RS 7 Sportback only takes 3.6 seconds to accelerate to 100 km/h), it also has high usability for business, family, and leisure activities, and delivers uncompromising Audi premium quality.
For peak racing sport performance, the Audi RS e-tron GT and Audi R8 variants are the pinnacle of what Audi has to offer. The former is the brand’s first all-electric sports car that is quintessential Audi — pure energy and progressive performance, while the latter is one of two models in Audi’s global portfolio that boasts a normally aspirated V10 engine.
With the Audi RS e-tron GT, you’re driving into the future of electric mobility with 830 Nm of torque, 637 hp (in boost mode) and 3.3 seconds of acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h (in boost mode). From exterior to interior, the gran turismo has been crafted with precision and speed. Not only is it a force to be reckoned with on the road, it also only takes half an hour to charge from 0 to 80% and has a range of about 470 km at full charge.
As for the Audi R8, it is available as a coupé (Audi R8 Coupé V10 Performance RWD) or convertible (Audi R8 Spyder V10 Performance RWD). Both have rear-wheel drive and maximum 570 hp. The coupé can reach a top speed of 329 km/h with the Spyder close behind. The Audi R8 is unmistakably a sports car packing pure adrenaline that has equal parts sportier handling and driving comfort.
While RS models aim to deliver high performance, these cars also make everyday mobility more convenient thanks to Audi’s undisputed premium quality, design and technology. From conventional sedans to top-tier sports cars, there is an Audi RS model for every driving, design, and performance preference.