Last year was huge for Audi Sport, being the most successful year in the history of Audi’s performance branch, selling 29,300 models. It seems as if 2021 is off to a good start as well, with the launch of the brand’s first-ever, all-electric performance car, the Audi RS e-tron GT. But the RS e-tron GT is much more than that, it’s the jumping off point for Audi Sport, into the world of electrification.
Audi Sport’s Managing Director, Sebastian Grams, and Head of Sales and Marketing, Rolf Michl, both spoke recently about the brand’s new entry into electrification and what it means for the brand moving forward.
Grams is from Heilbronn, Germany, a town just outside of Neckarsulm, where Audi Sport headquarters resides. He claims that every child in the area grows up wanting to work for Audi Sport, that’s how deep the love for the brand runs there. At the same time, though, Grams wants to move the brand forward, into the future.
“Change begins, first and foremost, in the mind. Our goal in the high-performance segment is to redefine the future of personal transportation and make it an even more emotional experience. One thing this will take is courage – the courage to look at things from completely different angles, and in doing so to explore new approaches that will continue to delight our customers in the future. We recently launched the RS e-tron GT – the first all-electric RS and our very first all-electric high-performance model – and thus unveiled a completely new, highly emotional side of the RS family.” he said.
But it’s not just the emotional aspect of electrification that Audi Sport wants to tap into. More and more customers are looking for sustainability and eco-friendliness, even in their performance cars.
“It goes without saying that we’re noticing changes and we are intensively analyzing the megatrends and market developments that have an impact on our customers’ reasons for buying and their perception of luxury. The aspect of sustainability adds a crucial element to performance – different from what we’ve seen in the past, but definitely fascinating!” said Michl.
One of the more interesting aspects of performance EVs is their lack of noise. As car enthusiasts, we love the loud exhausts of performance cars, which simply don’t exist in electric cars. However, it seems as if customers are growing to appreciate the silence.
“This is exactly where we’re seeing the biggest change. Customers shopping for an all-electric high-performance model are obviously looking for exceptional performance, but they also prioritize sustainability and making an understatement. Quiet is the new loud!” Michl continued.
Michl also went on to say that more than half of all Audi Sport models will be electrified to some degree by 2024.
“We expect to offer more than half of our high-performance models in partially or fully electrified form as early as 2024. And by 2026, this figure will likely even be as high as 80 percent.” he said.
Admittedly, some of those models could be the existing Audi RS6 and RS7, which feature 48-volt mild hybrid systems. Those can barely be considered hybrids, hence the “mild” in the name. However, we do know that Audi Sport is planning on developing more hybrid and electric performance cars in the near future. While Michl stopped short of naming any specific models, the future still looks bright.