The Audi RS 3 sports hatcback in red driving on a road

How Audi Sport shapes the character of its RS models

The RS models from Audi Sport GmbH are the dynamic spearheads of their respective product lines. They have a strong character that consists of distinct design differentiation, full everyday usability, effortless top performance, and a thrilling driving experience. This results from a relentless focus on minute details by the designers and development and test engineers, and it is perfected over numerous test drives around the world. There is a behind-the-scenes look at development work.

The Audi RS vehicle range displayed outside an Audi building

The North Loop (Nordschleife) of the Nürburgring is a legend among race tracks: The 20.832-kilometer course is among the most challenging worldwide. And every single metre is truly a tough challenge: the compression at the Fuchsröhre, the kickbacks at the Karussell, or the jump at the Pflanzgarten. More than 80 percent of the course is driven with full power. With maximum load applied in fast motion, every kilometre on this course equates to multiple kilometers of regular road operation. 8,000 kilometers of endurance testing on the North Loop easily equates to a car’s entire lifetime. With its high demands, the North Loop is the benchmark for every sporty car. If you can survive here, you can survive on the world’s roads.

The North Loop can also tell a knowledgeable driver a lot about an automobile: Its strengths and weaknesses, precise handling to achieve fast lap times, easy controllability at the limit and, most of all, solid quality even in the most challenging conditions. This is why the North Loop is one of the fixed stars in the cosmos of vehicle development and testing at Audi Sport GmbH.

The Audi RS Q3 sports SUV driving on snow

Around the world 30 times: the testing program for the RS Q8 – and not just this RS

Test engineers from Audi Sport GmbH spent around two years on the road in the RS Q8, covering more than 1.2 million kilometres, the equivalent of driving around the world 30 times, with development vehicles and prototypes. The test drives took them to Finland, Sweden, France, Italy, South Africa, China, and the USA. They were conducted on all types of racing tracks and roads.

Testing areas like the high-speed circular track in the southern Italian town of Nardò were used to test the resilience of all components at a consistently high speed. The ice and snow in Scandinavia offered ideal conditions for putting the finishing touches to the response characteristics of the suspension and control systems. When driving on a slippery surface, even minor changes to the setup have very noticeable effects. The heat and elevation in South Africa
presented the air conditioning, engine cooling, and performance characteristics with special challenges.

Inspired by the racing car: the design of RS models

The RS models are the dynamic spearheads in Audi’s model portfolio, as is already indicated by their particularly striking exterior design. It is very much inspired by motorsports, combining cool understatement with a dynamic edge. Top performance in motorsports requires more extreme component shapes. According to the principle of “form follows function,” it is therefore natural that the use of high-performance technologies from motorsports is also
reflected in the visual appearance of RS models.

In many RS models, the proportion and position of the Singleframe are based on the R8 sports car: It is both wider and lower than on its sister models and dominated by a puristic, sporty black instead of chrome elements. Some RS models have horizontal slits between the grille and the hood that are reminiscent of the iconic Audi Sport quattro from 1984. Mighty air inlets and large elliptical tailpipes symbolize the power of the turbocharged engines.
The body also features an exclusive look, which is particularly striking in the Audi RS 6 Avant.

It is 80 millimetres wider than the base model, and the design of the fenders is just as RStypical as that of the rear doors, the side panel frames, the front section, and the engine hood. Only the front doors, the roof, and the tailgate are unchanged. The wheel arches of the highperformance Avant accommodate wheels with a diameter of up to 22 inches – or even 23 inches in the case of the RS Q8.

Where are RS models produced?

RS models are produced at four locations. The RS 3 Sportback, the RS 3 Sedan, the RS 4 Avant, the RS 5 Coupé, and the RS 5 Sportback roll off the line in the German plant in Ingolstadt.

The RS 6 Avant and the RS 7 Sportback are produced at the Neckarsulm site.

At the Hungarian plant in Győr, the TT RS as a Coupé and Roadster, the RS Q3 and the RS Q3 Sportback are built. The RS Q8 is produced at the Slovakian plant in Bratislava. All RS models are processed on shared systems with their sister models. The Audi press shops supply the specific sheet metal parts made of steel or, in many cases, aluminum that are then assembled in the body shop.

The marriage, that is the assembly station where the suspension and drivetrain are joined with the body, is very challenging in the case of the models with a V8 engine in particular. RS-specific parts such as the exhaust system, bumpers, rear aprons, and wheels complete the RS models. A two-digit number of RS 6 Avants and RS 7 Sportbacks are built in Neckarsulm every working day. Each one of them is checked on a road course before being handed over to
the customer.

The “Böllinger Höfe” factory is located close by the Neckarsulm plant, the headquarters of Audi Sport GmbH. This is where the sports and racing cars of the R8 family are.

Discover the Audi RS Range

The new Audi RS range is available from our team at Archibalds Audi. Please note that not all RS models mentioned in this article may be available in New Zealand. Our team are on hand to answer any questions.

Visit our contact page to make an enquiry.