Paris 2012: Audi


To automotive aficionados, an Audi RS should be an estate. Yes, moving into saloons would obviously follow, while coupes and hatchbacks and roadsters was inevitable too. But is an Audi RS four-seat soft-top a step too far?

The least PH-worthy V8 cabrio ever?
The least PH-worthy V8 cabrio ever?
If you think it is, tough: here at Paris is the new RS5 Cabriolet, resplendent in white and with nasty brown leather inside. Perhaps they dared not finish it in RS blue. 450hp is exciting, and listening it to it will be enhanced too, but the RS5 coupe was already a pretty mediocre car. How can cutting the roof off improve things?

The new A3 Sportback is here too, with more of everything but visual distinction over the old one. Usual Audi design, then - but hey, if it works: at least the new 300hp S3 has more visual vim, and feels like an upmarket, classy new fast hatch from inside too. An S3 you'll admire? First signs are good.

Crosslane concept: clever tech, generic looks
Crosslane concept: clever tech, generic looks
The facelifted R8 is as you'd expect: the same, but just different enough in key places to ensure it still has appeal (not least through switching the clunky semi-auto gearbox for a proper DSG). Even so, here's hoping development of the new one is underway.

It was over to Audi's Crosslane concept to provide the real stand intrigue, though. At first glance, this appears yet another new niche Audi's planning: the sub-Q3 coupe-crossover sector. A sort of SUV TT if you like (complete with rear wheelarches that are a match for any RS on the stand...).

But there's more. It's built from an aluminium-carbon fibre spaceframe. Many of the structural components, including the Audi grille, are exposed and form a key part of the design. It's an open-top machine for good reason - to show how strong the new chassis is.

An A3 Sportback, it says here
An A3 Sportback, it says here
Even if it is confirmed, said a spokesman, it's a long way from production (2015 at the earliest, they speculated). But as a showcase for how chassis technology can develop (and a high-tech counterpoint to BMW's carbon fibre i3...), it's perhaps not beyond the realms.

Oh, and wonder why some of the cleverer chassis elements remain on display rather than hidden by bodywork? Well, to show off just what technology's beneath the surface. Audi engineers have apparently grumbled that their hard work and many technical solutions are not recognised.

Here's Audi showcasing them, then...

Comments (37) Join the discussion on the forum

  • richardaucock 02 Oct 2012


    [/quote]

    I think the RS models are quite different from their AMG and M series rivals. Audi have never really claimed their RS cars are designed with track driving in mind, and it's no secret that most M cars (X models aside) are more rewarding on a trcakday. As a result Audi RS has come in for a bit of a kicking from many of the PH crowd. RS models were fast but too efficient, lacking the character of a lairy M series car or AMG Merc.
    If I'm honest I used to think the same. However, as I've got older and had more time in various RS models I now 'get it'.
    AMG use massive shouty old school V8's to light up the rear tyres and make a glorious noise, M cars are quick, sharp on turn in and born to drift. All good fun....for a while.

    In my eyes RS cars deliberately choose a different path - high speed, high tech, high quality for everyday use.

    Whilst I conceed an M5 would be more fun to drift around Paddock Hill whilst vapourising £600's worth of tyres (not many journo's have to worry about the tyre bills) there is no car I would rather be in for a long trip with the family, or my 1 hour commute home in filthy winter weather than an RS4.

    Just keep an elise/cheap hot hatch in the garage for scratching that trackday itch.


    [/quote]

    Excellent appraisal of an RS' appeal - fully agree.

  • Maldini35 02 Oct 2012

    C7 JFW said:
    FWDRacer said:
    Audi UK have obviously told Harris to do one.

    Expect poor reviews on JLR products to follow...
    That's a shame considering Harris comes across well and appears to have pretty respectable taste in cars. He also seems to get it when it comes to the finer details - like the wipers on a Ferrari and so on.

    .
    Of course Audi haven't told Chris to 'do one'.
    If that was true we'd all know about it - remember his very public fall out with Ferrari?

  • Dave Hedgehog 02 Oct 2012

    C7 JFW said:
    FWDRacer said:
    Audi UK have obviously told Harris to do one.

    Expect poor reviews on JLR products to follow...
    That's a shame considering Harris comes across well and appears to have pretty respectable taste in cars. He also seems to get it when it comes to the finer details - like the wipers on a Ferrari and so on.

    Audi would do well to introduce some steering feel to their cars, something that consistently appears as a trademark-complaint. It's not like they don't have the budget now.
    He did a decent job on his tri RS4 review, cant see what audi would have a problem with

  • C7 JFW 02 Oct 2012

    FWDRacer said:
    Audi UK have obviously told Harris to do one.

    Expect poor reviews on JLR products to follow...
    That's a shame considering Harris comes across well and appears to have pretty respectable taste in cars. He also seems to get it when it comes to the finer details - like the wipers on a Ferrari and so on.

    Audi would do well to introduce some steering feel to their cars, something that consistently appears as a trademark-complaint. It's not like they don't have the budget now.

  • sealtt 02 Oct 2012

    Well the RS5 is a pretty unimpressive car to begin with. Test drove it and it felt not much more special than an A4 2.0TDI S-line.

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