Audi’s head of powertrain development, Wolfgang Hatz, has revealed in his latest interview the future plans for the RS models and the shortcomings of expanding into the SUV, hybrid and diesel segments.
Speaking with MotorTrend at the recent Paris Motor Show, Hatz explained that a traditional petrol-electric hybrid system would simply add too much weight because of the required batteries. As for an energy-recovery system like the KERS being developed for F1, Hatz states that it wouldn’t be worthwhile in a vehicle weighing three times as much as an F1 car. Furthermore, he adds that packaging it safely and conveniently in the engine compartment would be difficult.
Modern diesel engines, meanwhile, have shown that they can match their petrol equivalents when it comes to the performance stakes. Audi’s own R10 Le Mans racer has a number of titles under its belt. But putting a big V10 or V12 diesel engine, like the one in the recently revealed R8 TDI concept, would only be applicable in something like a Q7 RS model. However, Hatz is ultimately against adding a tall and heavy SUV to the RS lineup. He also started that a diesel engine's characteristics don't fit very well with those of the target RS buyer.
Instead, he sees more dual-clutch transmissions making their way across the RS range in the near future. There will be two different designs - dry clutches for lighter low, torque applications, and wet clutches in heavier, higher torque vehicles.