Audi To Give Future RS Models Rear-Wheel Drive Powertrains

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Finally Audi Sport recognizes that gearheads are just children that want to drift.

Audi sometimes comes off as a serious and antiseptic car company, but its RS line still has all the merit in the world to do civil war with its German peers. However, there's a reason that AMG and the M Division are typically kept separate from RS cars in competitions: the fact that Audi doesn't do rear-wheel drive. The automaker is actually notorious for it, with quattro being a household name in ways that BMW's X or Mercedes' 4Matic simply aren't. The problem is that quattro isn't very forgiving to hooligans that have an addiction to tire smoke.

When BMW and Mercedes decided to convert the M5 and AMG E63 S to all-wheel drive, both automakers included a drift mode in each car to give the driver the option of using rear-wheel drive dynamics. Audi? It has no inclination to follow in those footsteps. However, Audi Sport CEO Stephan Winklemann hasn't ruled out the prospect of an RS-badged drifter. Speaking to Auto Express at the 2017 Goodwood Festival of Speed, he claimed that future RS models could see power sent to the rear wheels for the sole purpose of sending tire smoke into the heavens. Thing is, Audi won't install a fancy drift mode that decouples the front wheels into its RS models. Instead, it will go full rear-wheel drive.

His comments are in line with the sport division's recent name change from Quattro GmbH to Audi Sport GmbH. "When looking at the name, we decided Quattro could be misleading. Quattro is the four-wheel-drive system and is one of the things that made Audi great – but in our opinion was not the right name for the company," said Winklemann. "I can imagine we can also have cars with rear-wheel drive or two-wheel drive in the future." As one might suspect, the reason that Audi is wavering on its stubborn use of all-wheel drive has to do with cash. It can't just sit and watch AMG and the M Division jousting off into the sunset without a Four Rings player giving both of them hell.

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Winklemann left us teetering on edge for now by mentioning no further details, though he did explain that we should expect two new Audi Sport models to debut at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show. Stop playing with our heartstrings, Winklemann, just give us the goods.


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