There Will be no RS1 in Audi’s Future Lineup
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.
Why It Matters
I’m not going to lie; I wanted Audi to build the RS1. But from how Reil explained it to Top Gear, the German automaker’s decision to skip on it makes a lot of sense. However, this leads to another problem that I’ve always feared these companies are only beginning to realize.
Is it possible that Audi’s at that point where it has too many models in its lineup? The company will probably deny it, but the argument against building an RS1 because of the potential of "intra-company competition" may directly tie into Audi having one too many models in its lineup.
With so many offerings, it’s inevitable that one model that should be made will be sacrificed to maintain balance in the books. Unfortunately, that model appears to be the RS1.
A lot of us really thought that Audi was building the RS1. There were even some spy shots back in October 2011 of a car that appeared to be the RS1 doing some test runs at the Nurburgring. At one point, there was even talk that Audi was planning to drop a turbocharged four-cylinder in the RS1’s engine bay, delivering close to 250 horsepower.
As it turns out, the car we hoped to be the RS1 ended up being the S1.
It certainly appears that the German automaker will be shelving the RS1 for the foreseeable future. However, I don’t expect the company to keep this stance forever because the industry is constantly changing.
Keep your fingers crossed that Audi has a change of heart in the future. Just don’t expect it to happen anytime soon.