Some may find it hard to believe, but Audi is no longer considering diesel models as its priority. This was confirmed by Audi Sport’s Stephan Winkelman himself in a recent interview with Motoring during the new RS 3’s premiere.
When asked to comment how dieselgate has affected the brand, the head for Audi’s performance division responded that it is now shifting its focus on to vehicles that are more appealing to the global consumers. Besides, Audi Sport is a brand that has to be credible and consistent. The core values he said, have to match the consistency of their products especially when it comes to handling, weight, range, top speed and acceleration.
In addition, Winkelmann thinks that since not all countries are the main market for diesel models, he no longer sees it useful to come out with just one engine. Having just one car to offer, he believes will lessen their opportunities particularly in North America and Asia. Due to limited budget and their need to build more vehicles that will cater to all markets worldwide, the diesel models as Winkelmann confirms will be more like a second priority.
So far, the SQ7 and SQ5 have been Audi Sport’s two most successful diesel lineups. The remarkable successes of these two have even brought up the possibilities of an RS version for both the Q5 and Q7 models.
Winkelmann explained how the performance brand is not only dealing with the dwindling diesel market but there are also issues brought by higher electrification cost. Audi Sport as a brand, has to explain to their clients regarding the difference between an electric model and the RS model in terms of size, price and body style. He went on to say that the sportier it looks, the more it has to offer.
Combining the demand for sporty and sustainable cars is challenging to say the least. For this same reason, Audi Sport is moving ahead with lesser diesel models and more SUV models while also increasing its electrified model range.
Over a year ago, the performance brand introduced the E-tron Quattro concept that boasts up to 370kW miles of range and less than 4.6 seconds acceleration. Audi Sport is also said to be developing a new battery pack that could deliver an impressive 500km range including a supposedly new SUV coupe. Seeing where this is going, it does look like Audi Sport is ready to take on the big challenge.