A lot of people have been waiting for the Audi RS1 for a couple of years now, so expect to collective groan after Quattro GmbH technical director Stephan Reil told Top Gear that Audi isn’t planning to build the car anytime soon. According to Reil, building the RS1 isn’t realistic at this point because it doesn’t make sense to build one from a financial point of view. His opinion might run contrary to Audi’s expansion pursuits, but it does make some sense considering that small cars don’t exactly make up the bulk of Audi’s sales. If you have one too many options to choose from, that’s going to compete against its own line, specifically the S1.
Speaking of competition, Reil also made that point while discussing the difficulties in putting an RS1 model on top of the S1. Doing so means that the RS1 would have a distinctive advantage in power and that doesn’t make any sense because it’s going to get too close to the Audi S3. That would create, as Reil describes, an “intra-company competition”.
So the Audi RS3 will be the entry-level model of the RS family, and Audi’s not planning to give it more than its rumored 360-horsepower output, even though the company has shown that the RS3 can accommodate as much as 525 horsepower in the Clubsport Quattro Concept. Doing so again creates the possibility of one model cannibalizing sales of another model. A 525-horsepower would immediately make the RS4 and the RS5 redundant, and that makes no sense for the company.
From the looks of things, Audi’s sticking to this position unless something dramatic happens. So if you’re looking for an RS1, don’t hold your breath on the chances of seeing Audi build it in the near future.
Click past the jump to learn why we won’t get to see an Audi RS1.
The Audi A1 is all set to get a much needed facelift for the 2014 model year, but that’s not all that will be happening with Audi at that time. According to a report from “sources within Audi,” the A1 facelift will also bring about the introduction of the S1 – a higher-performance variant of the compact hatch.
We expect this hot hatchback to come equipped with a 2.0-liter TSFI engine that is tuned to pump out 220 to 240 horsepower, but nothing is confirmed just yet. We also assume that the S1 will feature Audi’s famed quattro all-wheel-drive system. This would likely translate out to a 5-second run to 60 mph and a top speed nearing 155 mph.
Now it’s time for the bad news. Also reported by these supposed “insiders” is that the Audi RS1 is officially off the table. This 300-plus-horsepower hatchback is said to be a no go because officials think it would be too expensive to market in the compact hatchback realm. We can certainly see where this could be an issue with the Focus ST dominating the class at just over $20K, but there is definitely a market for a $30K-plus high-performance hatchback in our opinion. We’re willing to bet that the S1 will test the market and if it performs well, the RS1 will launch.
We’ll see what happens.
Audi is dead set on hitting their goal of 1.5 million annual sales and expanding in markets like China, Germany, and the United States by 2015. In order to achieve this, its lineup needs to stay fresh, so Audi has gone trademark crazy with Q6, Q8, R6, S2, S9, RS1, and RS8 names getting snagged.
As you can see, some of these name are rather familiar, like the Q6, RS1, and RS8. The other four names are completely new; we’ve never even heard rumors about them. Speculatively speaking, the S2 will be a sportier version of the upcoming A2, and the S9 name gives us hope for an A9 in the near future. As for the R6, it is believed to be the company’s new sports car that will be placed under the current R8. This vehicle was previously rumored to be called either the R4 or R5. Only time will tell if any one of these names will stick.
As for the Q8, it will be an SUV placed above the current Q7. It is set to become the largest and most luxurious SUV Audi has ever offered.
If you were waiting for a confirmation that Audi was indeed preparing an RS version for their latest A1 small hatchback, well here it is. The RS1 has been caught testing, not just once, but two times. The first session was during testing at the Nurburgring and the second was while it was cruising around on some of Germany’s streets. The RS1 may as well get used to the streets of Europe because, as of right now, there’s no chance it will see American soil.
Like with all the other RS models in Audi’s line-up, the new RS1 will feature a specially designed front bumper, a new rear wing, and wider side sills, as well as two fat exhaust pipes, one on each side. As for the hatchback’s engine, it is rumored that Audi will be using a turbo charged four-cylinder delivering some 250 HP, and not the same 340 HP turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine found in other hot models such as the TT RS and RS3 as we had hoped. This engine will be combined with Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive.
The new Audi RS1 will make its official debut at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show next March.