Audi Sport: R8 Successor is ‘Biggest Wish,’ Performance Plug-in Hybrids Are Coming

Audi R8 Coupé V10 GT RWD

Audi engineers really want to build an R8 successor, but before that, we’re bound to see some performance plug-in hybrids.

At the moment, Audi has just begun pivoting to its all-electric future, which means legendary models like the R8 — and its glorious V10 — are headed into the sunset. Fortunately, the internal-combustion party isn’t over just yet. There are still faster versions of the RS6 Avant on the way, and in a new interview with our friends at Autocar, Audi Sport managing director Sebastian Grams says enthusiasts have a lot to look forward to, including why building an R8 successor is his “biggest wish.”

In the piece, he touches on loads of interesting points, from how important noise is to enthusiasts, to Formula 1 cost caps, to the possibility of an electric TT. But here’s what really jumped out from Ingolstadt’s performance wing:

We are going in the direction of performance plug-in hybrid systems. This is what we are going for and I can tell you, this will be no less amazing than what you’re driving today. I personally believe that you will also have more opportunities to design the driving performance to be even cooler for the customer. 

Now obviously, I love the idea of a cooler driving experience, just like every enthusiast with a pulse. And to be brutally honest? My experience with electric performance cars has demonstrated that when you have wicked instant thrust, even things like the lack of a manual transmission and a wicked engine note can be forgiven. So I’d be happy to skip the whole plug-in hybrid step and go straight to weapons-grade green machines.

Where Should Audi Performance Go Next? (AudiWorld’s Take)

While the interview with Grams was informative, there wasn’t any discussion of the performance Audi I’d most like to see. Because I want to see a road-legal car derived from the history-making RS Q e-tron — and the timing is perfect for it. Seriously, just think about how crazy people went giving Porsche 911s the safari treatment. It got so popular that Stuttgart actually responded with a factory version. Even Lamborghini is making an off-road-focused supercar, in the form of the Huracán Sterrato. I’m telling you, there’s gold in them there hills.

And of all the companies making high-end sports cars today, which ones have a legacy that even approaches Audi when it comes to getting dirty? I mean, Group B anyone? Just imagine something built using what the engineers at Audi Sport learned running the RS Q e-tron in the Dakar Rally, and how cool that would be. If they could style it so it looked like the Quattro S1, I don’t believe they’d be able to make them fast enough. Porsche and Lamborghini might have beaten Audi to the market, sure. But going fully electric would be a game changer. Suddenly, every other manufacturer would be playing catch up.

Of course, there’s a reason that I’m a writer and not a product planner, and it’s easy to spend someone else’s money on research and development from the comfort of your keyboard. That said, I really think I’m on to something here. So what do you think? Would it be a good move for Audi to lead the charge when it comes to off-road-focused electric cars? Hit me up and let me know!

Image Source: Audi

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Real Deal: Group B Audi Sport quattro S1 E2 Headed to Auction

Audi Sport quattro S1 E2

This legendary Audi quattro S1 E2 is one of the few in private hands, and it has an amazing pedigree.

The Group B era is widely regarded as one of the most exciting times in the history of rally. And if there’s one vehicle that’s synonymous with this wild, dangerous period, it’s the Audi Sport quattro S1 E2. This is the machine that proved that all-wheel drive was the future of the sport, and its arrival on the scene proved to be a pivotal moment for both rally teams and Audi itself.

In the years since, the legendary status of the S1 E2 has meant there’s been no shortage of clones and tribute cars. But opportunities to buy an actual weapons-grade example are few and far between. So if you’re the kind of gearhead who can’t see the bottom of your pockets? Prepare to be happy — because a 1985 Audi Sport quattro S1 E2 has come up for sale.

This example is one of the few in private hands, and was driven by Finnish rally champion Hannu Mikkola during the 1985 Lombard RAC Rally. Under the hood, it’s packing the familiar straight five engine, along with a massive — and unfortunately named — turbocharger which stoked output to 550 horsepower. That was an astronomical figure for the time, and allowed the S1 E2 to shoot from zero to 100 mph in just 8.9 seconds.

After the car’s competition days were done, it was purchased by Audi collector Michael Gabel, who wasn’t content to let it sit on display. Instead, Gabel added some refinements — like glass windows — and actually drove the car on the street. So if you’ve ever wondered how cool it is to be a wealthy gearhead who doesn’t care about pedestrian accessories like license plates? The answer is very, very cool.

Since Ingolstadt only built 20 S1 E2s, and five of them have crossed the bridge to Valhalla, that makes this example incredibly desirable. At this point, there are no estimates on the RM Sotheby’s site, so we’ll just have to see what it fetches when the hammer drops early next month. But one thing is for sure — this baby will likely crest the million-dollar mark almost as quick as it’ll hit 100 mph.

Photos: RM Sotheby’s

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Audi Drag: 2022 RS 3 vs. 1985 Sport Quattro S1

Audi Drag Race

Wonder how a modern performance-tuned Audi stacks up to one of its racing ancestors? Watch this video and find out!

The 1985 Audi Sport Quattro S1 is — to put it mildly — a wicked-fast piece of kit. After all, it was designed to compete in Group B, the most terrifying era of rally that ever existed. But since time waits for no person or car, the fact that it’s nearly four decades old can’t be overlooked. So it’s interesting to see how this purpose-built racing machine compares to one of its modern, street-legal ancestors — like the current Audi RS 3. And fortunately, thanks to our friends across the Pond at carwow, it doesn’t have to be a bench race.

In this video, host Mat Watson lines up Ingolstadt’s latest ferocious compact sedan with the venerable S1, which is being driven by an Audi factory driver. As fans of the Four Rings know, both cars are packing turbocharged five-cylinders under the hood. But here, the power advantage goes to the older thoroughbred, as the RS 3 is producing 400 horsepower to the S1’s 500 ponies. And that’s despite the fact that its modern mill is up on displacement — as it’s 2.5-liters as opposed to 2.1-liters. Just goes to show that when daily drivability isn’t taken into consideration? Output can shoot into the stratosphere.

Given it’s a street car, which has things like air conditioning, infotainment, other creature comforts, and legions of safety nannies, the RS 3 is also over 1,000 pounds heavier than the race car. That’s a serious delta to overcome, even if it’s sporting a lightning-quick seven speed dual-clutch transmission, as opposed to the S1’s old-school six speed. Honestly, even though it’s not directly applicable here — as the S1 was never for sale at a dealership — one phrase kept running through my head watching this video. And that’d be: “The last days of the old technology are better than the first days of the new technology.”

Hopefully, that little tidbit didn’t spoil the video, because it’s amazingly fun, and frankly, it makes me jealous of folks who get to experience the glory of old race cars. Seeing something like this is a reminder of just how unhinged the performance of these old warriors was, and how frighteningly different it was than the road-going vehicles of the time. So check out the clip, and if you’ve gotten to pull a Ken Block and hammer on some old racing cars? Hit me up and tell me about it!

Photos: YouTube

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Ice Block: Ken Block Hoons Audi Group B Rally Cars

Audi Group B

Want to know how much fun can Ken Block have with a Audi Group B car and a frozen track? Watch and see!

In September of last year, gymkhana legend Ken Block announced that he was partnering with Audi to assist in electric vehicle development. For enthusiasts, this was obviously amazing news, as nobody expected Block to be tapped to help with boring stuff like, say, range or practicality. No way. The Hoonigan-in-Chief is all about performance, going sideways, and having fun. So his input is going to help optimize the driving dynamics of Ingolstadt’s new green machines. For proof, look no further than his new Elektrikhana hero car.

As you’d expect, since Block joined the Four Rings team, we’ve seen loads of great video content. From getting airborne in the history-making RS Q e-tron, to flogging the RS e-tron GT on a runway, to ascending the Knife’s Edge in Swing Arm City, Utah, the ace pilot has been busy delivering the goods. Now, there’s a new clip of him driving some of Audi’s iconic Group B rally machines, and if it doesn’t get your blood pumping? You should probably go to a doctor — because you might be dead.

Here, we get to see Block preparing for the GP Ice Race in Austria, which involves a frozen track, a quattro A2 Group B-spec rally car, and boatloads of oversteer. We also get a peak at all the dazzling cache of hot hardware on display at Munich’s GP Performance, which includes gems like an RS2 Avant, a tuned Toyota Supra, a Ferrari 355, and — almost unbelievably — an R18 Le Mans racer. Talk about a kid in a candy store moment!

After that all-too-brief walk through, Block and GP Performance founder GP Kraemer hop into a custom RS e-tron GT and make their way north to the icy circuit, where the real fun begins. Apparently, the Ice Race used to be held on a frozen lake, but after a competitor plunged through the ice into the frigid water, the organizers wisely decidedly to move it to terra firma. Watch the video to check out all the action, and stay tuned for an updates on the forthcoming Elektrikhana video. It’s certain to be mind blowing!

Photos: YouTube

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VIDEO: Six Glorious Minutes of Classic Audi Quattro S1 Noises

Audi Quattro S1 Group B

Words are unnecessary when the Group B legend that is the Audi Quattro S1 turns up for some vintage rallying and hill-climbing fun.

It’s amazing how one small change made such a big impact upon the world. Such was the case with Audi and its then-new quattro all-wheel drive system in the Eighties. Back then, it was novel to send all the power to all corners in a family car, and especially in high-performance cars. Yet, Ingolstadt proved one didn’t need to buy a truck to get the benefits all-wheel drive offered.

And of course, what better way to prove the point than by entering rallying under the FIA’s insane Group B regs. The moment all four wheels carved the quattro name into the dirt, they also etched Audi’s name into history. Thanks to this compilation by Palbo64 Rally & Racing Videos, we get to see – and hear – this history play out on the vintage rallying and hill-climbing circuits, in the form of the Audi Quattro S1.

Audi Quattro S1 Group B

Not only do we see the classic yellow and white livery of the Quattro campaigned by the likes of Michele Moulton and Walter Rohl, but a few other classic paints, too. There’s one with the Audi Sport colors of black, gray and red, of course. Then, there’s the red and white of the Belga team Quattro, once campaigned by famed Belgian driver and co-pilot Marc Duez and Willy Lux.

Audi Quattro S1 Group B

No words are necessary to explain how awesome these machines are. The Audi Quattro S1 more than speaks for itself with every pop, crackle, roar, and chirp from its turbocharged inline-five. The sound of the Group B monster in all its forms gives the angular coupe the proper voice for all of its adventures on paved and unpaved roads. Not to mention exciting the gathered crowds in this day, just as it did at the peak of madness decades ago.

Audi Quattro S1 Group B

The best part of all this, though? The teams who care for and preserve these legends today. Without them, all anyone would have of the Audi Quattro S1 would be historic footage. Long may the legend live.

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Cameron Aubernon’s path to automotive journalism began in the early New ’10s. Back then, a friend of hers thought she was an independent fashion blogger.

Aubernon wasn’t, so she became one, covering fashion in her own way for the next few years.

From there, she’s written for: Magazine, Insider Louisville, The Voice-Tribune/The Voice, TOPS Louisville, Jeffersontown Magazine, Dispatches Europe, The Truth About Cars, Automotive News, Yahoo Autos, RideApart, Hagerty, and Street Trucks.

Aubernon also served as the editor-in-chief of a short-lived online society publication in Louisville, Kentucky, interned at the city’s NPR affiliate, WFPL-FM, and was the de facto publicist-in-residence for a communal art space near the University of Louisville.

Aubernon is a member of the International Motor Press Association, and the Washington Automotive Press Association.