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Audi will debut a rear-wheel drive model at Frankfurt Motor Show

A little while back, former Audi Sport boss Stephan Winkelmann hinted at the possibility of a rear-wheel drive model. The idea of an Audi RS car with rear-wheel drive seemed like heresy to the Audi faithful. While rear-wheel drive is normally the choice of drivetrain for car enthusiasts, Audi had always built its reputation on all-wheel drive grip. So it seemed a bit ludicrous for Audi to make a rear-wheel drive performance car. However, despite how ludicrous it may seem, it’s going to happen.

According to the folks in Ingolstadt, some sort of rear-wheel drive Audi RS car will make its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show next week. “The Audi subsidiary [Audi Sport] will also be showcasing for the first time a limited special model with rear-wheel drive.” Now, we have no idea what that could be but it could be some sort of Audi R8 variant with rear-wheel drive. Or it will be a completely new car. But more likely, it will probably be a variant of an existing model with some sort of Quattro all-wheel drive system that has the ability to turn off its rear axle.

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Either way, though, it’s obvious where this is coming from. Both of Audi Sport’s main competitors, BMW M and Mercedes-AMG, have all-wheel drive performance sedans that can switch to rear-wheel drive at the press of a button. It allows for superb all-wheel drive traction for most conditions but allows for tire-shredding rear-wheel drive when you want it. It’s the best of both worlds and really is a smart compromise between big power and big fun.

It’s just odd to think of an Audi RS car with rear-wheel drive, even if it’s temporary. Quattro all-wheel drive has been the bedrock of Audi’s performance history so it’s quite odd to see the brand go the rear-wheel drive route. Though, we understand the need to keep up with its competition. Imagine a tire-smoking, rear-wheel drive Audi RS car doing big smokey burnouts? Weird but oddly intriguing.

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First we learn that Audi will debut the new RS4 Avant and now we find out there will be a rear-wheel drive model there? We can’t wait to see what happens at the Frankfurt Motor Show next week.

Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.