What Audi do you dream about the most?

As discussed many times in Caradisiac, the history of Audi follows the meteoric rise of Ferdinand Piech within the Volkswagen group. It was even the success of the development of the brand with rings that allowed the grandson of Ferdinand Porsche to become credible within the management of the Volkswagen group, after standing at Porsche during the design of the very first 911. Through dint of technological investments, competitive commitments and design work, Audi has been a direct and important competitor of BMW and Mercedes-Benz since the 90s.

The 1983 Sport Quattro, Audi’s first ultra-sporty model became legendary.
The 1994 RS2, the first mass-produced ultra-sporty Audi.
The 1994 RS2, the first mass-produced ultra-sporty Audi.

This improvement in Audi’s image also owes a lot to the ultra-sporty models that proliferated once Ferdinand Piech arrived at Audi. After the GT coupé, its Quattro version and its extremely rare Sport Quattro variant elevated to the rank of legendary road monster in the 80s, the Ingolstadt manufacturer presented the S2 and RS2 in the early 90s to respond to the BMW M3 of era From 1999 and the arrival of the first Audi RS4, “Renn Sport” variants became more systematic in the Audi range. From now on, when a match is played between ultra-sporty German wagons in the specialized press, Audi of the “RS” series competes with Mercedes-AMG and BMW M. The sales volume of overpowered and This overpriced variant remains confidential. now on the scale of premium giant cars (more or less 150,000 models are sold every year compared to two million units of cars sold by the three kings of the world market), but these iconic cars certainly help to bring customers back to the smartest version of the catalog.

The models
Today’s “RS” models span the entire Audi range.

Like its two main competitors, there is now an ultra-sporty version for almost all the “normal” models in the Audi range. From RS 3 to RS Q8 via RS Q3, RS 4 Avant, RS 5 coupé and Sportback, RS 6 Avant or RS 7 Sportback. And as with BMW M and Mercedes-AMG, most of these variants live in the last moments of their “thermal” career due to the evolution of standards (mainly in Europe). While the Mercedes-AMG C63 has just abandoned its V8 in favor of a tricky four-cylinder hybrid and all subsequent large ultra-sporty family cars will be electric, we already know that the RS 3 will not be replaced and the R8 will later return to a 100% electric version after the demise of the current model.

The end of understeer

After the development of this “RS” range since the end of the 90s (which should now be called “Audi Sport”), the engineers of the German manufacturer have finally spoken recently to correct the repeated flaw of their cars: their tendency to understeer . When you got behind the wheel of an RS 3, an RS 4 or an RS 6 ten years ago, the impressive straight-line performance and formidable engine characteristics of these machines were unfortunately is tinged with a bit of uninterestingness, favoring stability over fun and sporting excellence . The latest generation of Audi Sport has made a lot of progress in this regard, with better dynamism on the circuit where the previous generations were completely established. This is also why Audi sent us to Paul Ricard to test the RS 3 in particular, the old version of which screamed in pain at the slightest attack on the track (or even on a mountain pass).

Unlike previous versions, the Audi RS 3 is not ridiculous on the circuit
Unlike previous versions, the Audi RS 3 is not ridiculous on the circuit

It must be said that this new RS 3 is really far from sports preparation. In the condition of opting for a very expensive purchase pack, the machine is equipped with carbon-ceramic brakes and ultra-sticky semi-slick Pirelli P-Zero worthy of a true supercar. Enough to swallow the curves of Paul Ricard with confidence and even a lot of fun, thanks to a front axle solid as a rock and a rear axle that helps to turn the car at all times (in registration and even when accelerating ). Absolutely unprecedented driving sensations in the history of RS 3, not to mention the famous drift mode (“RS Torque Rear”) that allows you to go very far with fun and sliding if you understand the mode of driving.

In terms of performance and fun, the R8 remains at the top of the Audi Sport range.
In terms of performance and fun, the R8 remains at the top of the Audi Sport range.

Despite these remarkable dynamic characteristics and the growl of the legendary five-cylinder (unfortunately weakened due to the particulate filter and the adaptation to the standards that have become stricter), the RS 3 naturally pulls a little on the circuit against the sports standard- bearer of ‘Audi, the R8. Punished by the policy of the Volkswagen group, which prefers to give a performance advantage to the Lamborghini Huracan Evo with the same chassis and the same mechanics (with less horse power and rear-wheel steering for which the German does not deserve), it Currently stands out -the R8 stands out as the most comfortable model in the category and offers, especially since the arrival of “phase 2” in 2018, driving sensations that are still exciting. Certainly there are no fearsome catapults in a straight line of the most powerful turbocharged super sports car on the market (Ferrari 296 GTB, McLaren 720S, etc.) but the performances remain remarkable and above all, the characteristic atmospheric The V10 will forever remain one of the greatest marvels in automotive history. Easy to push and sweet to sing, the R8 handles like a true sports car only with a lightning-quick gearbox and poise to play at the limits with confidence. The very filtered steering and the attack of the brake pedal are less straightforward than other brands, the opposite of the greater comfort of the car in everyday life, not enough to spoil the enjoyment of circuit.

And to think that he is getting ready to leave the world of the series...
And to think that he is getting ready to leave the world of the series…

The R8 probably doesn’t appeal to little kids like its Lamborghini Huracan cousin, for obvious design reasons. But the real strength of this car, as we have experienced in previous tests, is to offer a unique compromise in the world between the luxury of a true super-sports car, the mechanical nobility and the versatility of ‘use. Especially in its Spyder version, which reproduces the pleasure of the atmospheric V10, this R8 represents, in our opinion, a certain idea of ​​the dream car of all brands.

It's easy to have fun with the RS 3.
It’s easy to have fun with the RS 3.

Expensive but infinitely more accessible than the R8 and finally fun to push to its limits, the latest RS 3 also embodies the Audi dream in its own way: it benefits from exceptional mechanics, practical in everyday life but also fun. drive.

We are definitely talking about two models that will soon leave the brand’s catalog, therefore. True, everyone praised the design of the electric RS e-tron GT, which also did not disappoint on the Paul Ricard circuit in the conditions of this large gathering of Audi Sport models. But will the Audi Sport range continue to inspire dreams of the future as the ringed brand prepares to turn off its best heat engines?

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