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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.

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.

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.