Audi’s world of high-performance vehicles just got more interesting with the local introduction and launch of its 2021 S/RS/R line-up held on location at the rooftop of the swanky Sandton City Shopping Centre. All the vehicles making their debut this past week are high-performance derivatives of the humble A4, A5, A6, A7, TT, Q7 and swoopy Q8 SUV.
Here in Mzansi, Audi’s RS models are launching at the same time, which makes the buying decision that much harder. To save you the trouble, we explore each model in chronological order.
Audi RS 4 Avant
First things first, let us have a look at the Audi RS 4 Avant, where the 2021 update sees the car get a newly designed front section and an updated interior. Among the updates in the interior is a new MMI touch operating system for the car. The twin-turbo V6 engine under the bonnet of the car has 331kW and 600Nm of torque at the crank. The torque is delivered between 1 900 and 5 000 r/min, while the 0 to 100 km/h sprint is achieved in 4.1 seconds.
Up front is a 3D honeycomb structure in gloss black that is typical of the RS models. The LED headlights of the car have been redesigned. Optional matrix LED headlights are available with darkened bezels. To set the RS 4 Avant apart from the A4 Avant, the RS version is fitted with blistered wheel arches that are 30 mm wider front and back.
Price: R1 296 000
Audi RS 5 Coupe and Sportback
Back in 2019 when Audi revealed these new RS 5 Coupe and Sportback models, it said that the revision of those two models marks the successful conclusion of its 25th anniversary and the renewal of its model range. Both models have a refined exterior design that has a wider and flatter single frame grille, giving it a similar design as the RS 6 and RS 7 cars.
Buyers can choose a gloss black, matte aluminium, and carbon styling package to give the RS 5 a more custom look. One significant change is a new 10.1-inch MMI touch display that is slightly turned towards the driver. The optional Audi virtual cockpit plus adds a 12.3-inch display with an RS-specific option that gives performance metrics. Power for both comes from a 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6, making 331kW of power and 600Nm of torque.
That engine pushes the quattro all-wheel-drive to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds.
Price: R1 394 000 (Coupe) and R1 409 500 (Sportback)
Audi RS 6 Avant & RS 7 Sportback
Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder but we’re a big fan of the new design Audi RS 7 Sportback, and crucially it doesn’t look like a regular A7 Sportback. In fact, the only shared elements between the base model and the RS7 are the roof, bonnet, front doors, and tailgate. Everything else is unique.
Enough about cosmetics, but before we discuss the mouth-watering V8, it’s only proper to disclose some important bits about the mild hybrid system; Both the 2021 Audi RS 6 Avant and RS 7 Sportback are mild hybrids, but it has nothing to do with boosting engine performance. Unlike the EQ Boost mild hybrid system in use by Mercedes-AMG, Audi’s version is engineered to boost efficiency and fuel economy. The system comprises a belt alternator-starter to recover up to 12 kW of electricity under gentle acceleration; the electrons are fed to a small lithium-ion battery.
Which makes sense as to why with these new models, speed is the name of the game. The vehicles make good use of a 4.0-liter TFSI turbocharged V8 motor producing 441 kW of power. More importantly, the motor churns out 800Nm of torque from 2 100 to 4 500 r/min. With this much power and torque, they can rocket effortlessly from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.6-seconds, which is 0.3 seconds faster than the RS 7 Sportback’s predecessor. Top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h, but can be raised to 280 km/h with the optional Dynamic Package.
Price: R2 070 000 (RS 6 Avant) and R2 173 500 (RS 7 Sportback)
Welcome to Mzansi, 2021 Audi S8. At the heart of this high-performance A8 limo is a Biturbo V8. That V8 engine makes 420kW of power and 800Nm of torque. Audi fitted the V8 with mild-hybrid technology which helps to save up to 0.8l/100 km in everyday driving.
The top speed for the S8 is limited to 250 km/h, and the car can reach 100 km/h from rest in 3.8 seconds. It also has automatically actuated flaps in the exhaust system for improved sound.
The Audi S8 also has 38 safety and driver assistance systems between the City and tour packages.
Price: R2 484 000
Audi TT RS Coupe and Roadster
Audi has pulled the wraps off the new TT RS Coupe and Roadster, and the two rides share many of the same components. Combined fuel consumption is 8.1 to 7.9l/100km. Both are powered by the characterful 2.5-litre 5-cylinder engines, which makes 294kW and 480Nm. Audi’s famous quattro all-wheel drive is standard. Performance for the Coupe is 0-100 km/h in 3.7 seconds, while the Roadster takes another 0.2 seconds. .
Price: R1 062 000 (Coupe) and R1 113 500 (Roadster)
Audi SQ7 and Audi SQ8
Both these SQ models were updated in Europe late in 2019. But instead of a petrol-fed V8, they brandish Audi’s signature V8 diesel engine under the bonnet. It has 310kW of power and 900Nm of torque. And despite weighing around 3 000kg, both diesel versions of the SQ7 and SQ8 are quick enough to breach 100 km/h from a standstill in 4.8 seconds. The acclaimed diesel V8 motor is connected to an 8-speed automatic transmission driving all four wheels courtesy of the quattro system. Both models are equipped with adaptive air suspension and rear-wheel steering to improve handling and manoeuvrability. The system turns the rear wheels in the opposite direction of the front wheels at lower speeds to reduce the turning circle.
Price: R1 679 500 (SQ7) and R1 848 500 (SQ8)
Audi RS Q8
Audi knows how to make an impression in the land of SUVs by adding an RS model to its portfolio with the 2021 RS Q8: not only the sportiest and fastest Q model, but probably the most practical and, dare we say, undoubtedly the flagship of the Audi RS family as well.
“For the first time in the 26-year history of Audi RS models, we have put a large SUV coupe with the genes of a true high-performance sports car on the road,” said Sascha Sauer, Head of Audi SA. We could not agree with him more.
Audi has opted for a V8 petrol engine in the new RS Q8 model. You’re getting yourself into the similar 4.0-litre V8 with direct injection and a mild-hybrid system – the same powerplant and MHEV system found in the RS6 Avant and RS7 Sportback. It produces 441kW and 800Nm making it the most powerful SUV in Audi’s range.
Even with a larger and heavier SUV body, the V8 is sufficient to propel the RS Q8 from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds.
The RS Q8 also receives standard adaptive air suspension with RS-specific dampers, which allows you to raise the ride height up to 90 mm, which is particularly helpful if you accidentally drive your RS Q8 onto some gravel or off-road fun.
Just when we thought we’ve seen the best of Audi’s newest RS range, along comes the RS Q8 to round things out. But is it good enough to make us fall out of love with the RS6 Avant and RS7 Sportback? We eagerly await for the upcoming road test program to find out and report back to you.
The Audi R8 remains one of our favourite supercars, and it is definitely on our top list of dream cars to own. The new 2021 R8 V10 Performance is still incredible to drive, but it has always been a fabulous everyday type of supercar, even better in Spyder Performance guise, Audi’s convertible version.
The new R8 is the most sorted in terms of all the design elements. The first-gen R8 was a gem for the eyes, but it seems Audi had an identity crisis when redesigning the second-generation car. Here, though, Audi got it all right.
Push the Start button and you bring to life a naturally-aspirated 5.2l V10, which is good for 449 kW of power and 560Nm of torque. With Quattro all-wheel drive and a slick-shifting seven-speed S-Tronic dual-clutch automatic, the V10 Coupe reaches 0 to 100 km/h in 3.2 seconds, while the Spyder gets there a negligible 0.1 seconds later.
Price: R3 336 000 (Coupe) and R3 592 000 (Spyder)
Words: Papi Mabele