TRACK-TESTED PERFORMANCE FOR THE STREET
Audi has been known for decades as a luxury marque that combines comfort, style, safety and all-wheel-drive security in one package. However, at the 2017 NY International Auto Show, Audi added a new temptation to their R and RS lines: Audi Sport.
Starting in spring 2017 and continuing for the next 24 months, Audi announced that it would introduce eight new models, all with track-tested Audi Sport performance in their DNA. Audi’s history of racetrack prowess goes back to the prewar Silver Arrows models that broke performance records wherever they ran.
More recently, in the 1980s, the automaker’s competition-crushing speed was so extraordinary that the sanctioning bodies banned the cars because no other manufacturer could equal them! At Le Mans, the Audi teams have dominated with 13 overall victories since the year 2000.
Using the expertise gained in the fiery crucible of competition, Audi will be offering customers vehicles that have all of their traditional road-going strengths augmented by even further-advanced handling and power. Here are the cars currently available at your Audi Sport dealer along with a sneak peek at what’s ahead.
Audi RS 7 Performance
Whoever said good things come in small packages never drove an Audi RS 7 Performance. This full-size luxury sedan combines true on-the-road sports car performance in a vehicle designed for four passengers. The RS badge (note: the R in RS stands for rennen, German for race) is your first hint at what’s under the hood. That’s where the heart of the RS 7 beats with a twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V8 TFSI engine that cranks out up to 605-hp and 553 lb-ft of torque.
While the horsepower is eye-popping, it’s the torque that makes this Audi pull strongly from low RPMs, important for passing on hills or accelerating out of a tight corner. Mated to an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission and quattro all-wheel drive, the driver will experience racecar performance thanks to the power, the ultra-quick shifting and remarkable handling. A traditional measure for performance in the United States is the zero to sixty time. The RS 7 clocked in a 3.6-second 0-60 sprint, faster than many pure two-seat sports cars.
Because this is a luxury car, the suspension was not ignored in the creation of the RS 7 Performance. Standard on the A7 RS is a continuously variable RS-tuned adaptive air suspension. This computer-controlled damper system adjusts the body height of the vehicle based on driving circumstances. On rough roads and at low speeds, the suspension will raise the chassis slightly to improve comfort. Then, at highway speeds it will sit the chassis lower for more dynamic handling and safety. This all happens without driver intervention, another safety feature of the RS 7. The RS 7 Performance, however, has a system called DRC - Dynamic Ride Control. This system is a purely mechanical so it’s fully lag-free. It reduces body roll and pitch around the transverse and longitudinal axis. These diagonally opposed pairs of shock absorbers are computer controlled and use hydraulic lines and a central valve so that when cornering at speed, the valves regulate the oil flow in the shock absorber of the deflected outside front wheel almost immediately. This increases support and reduces lateral tilt, thereby improving the RS 7 Performance’s handling dynamics. As an option, Dynamic Ride Control can be supplemented by three-stage variable damping characteristics.
Finally, the RS 7 Performance comes standard with race-proven carbon ceramic brakes. If you have never experienced the stopping power of these “right from the racetrack” brakes, prepare to be truly amazed. Build your own at: Audiusa. com/models/audi-rs7/configurator.
Audi RS 3 Sedan
Audi’s popular A3 sedan has also received a heavy dose of RS technology. From an aggressive reworking of the exterior with distinctive fender bulges wrapped around 19-inch performance wheels and tires, to the deeply contoured “S” bucket seats, the RS 3 looks for all the world like it just came off the track at “The Ring,” Sebring, Watkins Glen or our local favorite, Lime Rock Park. But unlike many cars that are “badge engineered” (dressed up with decals and stripes to give the impression of a track-ready car), the RS 3 has the engine, transmission, brakes and suspension to back its impressive looks.
As with the RS 7, the heart of the RS 3 is the engine. The all-new Audi RS 3 Sedan features a 2.5-liter TFSI turbocharged engine known for its unique firing order and incomparable sound, producing 400- hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. Zero to sixty is reached in a half-tick under 4 seconds accompanied by a distinct engine note that can be controlled by opening unique “flaps” of the standard RS exhaust system.
With a car this fast and powerful, the brakes have to be up to the task. The standard RS 3 brakes use 8-piston mono-block calipers and 370 mm ventilated discs. Optional is Formula One-style, carbon ceramic brakes that take stopping performance to levels unprecedented in mid-sized, road-going sedans. Build your own at: Audiusa.com/models/audi-rs3/ configurator.
Audi TT RS Coupe
Always perceived as a popular, fun, yet practical sports car, the Audi TT, for 2018, is now available with RS tuning, making it an even more thrilling sports car. The same 2.5-liter TFSI turbocharged engine from the RS 3 gives the TT performance usually reserved for sports cars costing multiples of the TT RS Coupe’s base price. This new engine, mated to a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission, powers the TT RS Coupe to sixty MPH from a standing start in 3.6 seconds. That’s sure to impress everyone at the stoplight Grand Prix.
However, that’s not where the TT RS Coupe really shines. The engine’s broad torque band – starting at only 1,700 RPM – and the precise gearing and competition-quick paddle shifting transmission make carving up your favorite twisty two-lane roads or the occasional track day fast, fun and safe. That’s especially true since you’ll have the TT RS Coupe’s legendary Audi Quattro AWD and 8-piston disc brakes on your side. Build your own at: Audiusa.com/models/audi-tt-rs/ configurator.
In no other Audi model will you find more evidence of race-proven technology being made available for the street than in the new R8. For 2017, Audi offered an R8 with a V10 Plus engine that generates 610-hp and 413 lb-ft of torque. For the curious, that combination will allow the R8 Coupe to reach a top track speed of 205 MPH. This is the same naturally aspirated V10 engine found in the R8 LMS racecar. It’s coupled to Audi’s completely new application of Quattro all-wheel drive and features an updated seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission. In Le Mans race-winning fashion, it can shift gears in an amazing 120 milliseconds. Audi drive select offers four modes: comfort, auto, dynamic and individual, and on R8 V10 plus models, an additional “performance mode” with dry, wet and snow programming that allows for enhanced performance based on the selected road condition.
Audi declares that the R8 is the pinnacle of performance for the marque, with no other model bearing a closer tie to racing. Embodied in the R8’s DNA is know-how acquired on the racetrack and from the legacy of Audi endurance racing. For the first time ever, Audi co-developed the all-new R8 with their GT3 race car, the Audi R8 LMS. But be aware, unlike some super cars that offer privation along with performance, the new R8 delivers a civilized, luxury-car level of performance. Available as a convertible or Spyder model – Build your own at: Audiusa.com/models/ audi-r8/configurator.
Audi RS 5 Coupe
Announced in spring 2017, the RS 5 Coupe will launch in the first six months of 2018. Aimed directly at BMW’s M4, this new mid-sized coupe will feature an all-new 2.9-liter TFSI V6-biturbo engine that delivers 450-hp and 443 lb-ft of torque. Audi has tested prototypes in Germany and claims that the RS 5 will accelerate from 0 to 100 KPH (62 mph) in just 3.9 seconds. If you’re going to be in the market for a comfortable, safe, reliable and stunningly fast family car, then you might want to go to Audi Meadowlands and preorder this amazing Audi. It’s the first of the new Audi Sport vehicles planned for 2018, but it won’t be the last.
The claim that racing improves the breed has never been truer than with the new Audi Sport line. These vehicles combine all of the traditional Audi values of safety, luxury and comfort with dramatic racetrack driving characteristics.
Visit Audi Meadowlands to be both impressed and, we bet, severely tempted!