Audi Tears Open The Performance Envelope With New S And RS Models – Forbes

American luxury car buyers with a penchant for performance are in luck. Virtually all the world’s premium brands are stepping up efforts to meet the demand for hot versions of existing models.

2018 Audi S5 coupe combines svelte design with exhilarating performance.

Audi photo

2018 Audi S5 coupe combines svelte design with exhilarating performance.

Although marketing costs increase for automakers, the margins on new performance variants can be significant and the showroom halo effect is worthy.

The result is an alphanumeric onslaught from brands looking to polish their performance credentials. So we have Audi S and RS models, BMW M versions, Cadillac’s V editions, Mercedes-Benz’s AMG line, Jaguar and Land Rover SVR variants, Infiniti Red Sport, Lexus’s F models and so on.

For enthusiasts the trend is encouraging, as it wasn’t long ago that the pressure to improve fuel economy threatened to snuff out sportier models.

But automakers have found ways to up the mileage even on more powerful engines. And with the improving economy, the demand from wealthier car buyers for models with more performance and visual distinction has proved irresistible.

Among luxury brands, Audi has been particularly aggressive with the rollout of performance variants in the US. At the New York auto show, Audi announced it is introducing its Audi Sport brand to its US dealer network.

To support Audi Sport, the company will launch eight new R and RS models over the next 24 months. These will include the 2017 R8 V10 Spyder, the all-new 2018 TT RS, the 2018 RS 3 and in 2018 the RS 5 Coupe.

Until this year, only a handful of the RS models sold in Europe were offered to US consumers. But now, says Audi of America president Scott Keogh, the focus is on leveraging the progress Audi has made in its extensive and successful motorsports experience.

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