As enthusiasts, we drool over the potential for power. That’s why there are Miatas with LS1 swaps and a burgeoning aftermarket industry. That’s also why every time a brand comes out with a performance car, the automotive community lusts for its powerful engine to migrate downstream.
For a business, though, it’s essential for cars to know their place.
When the Audi S1 supermini hatchback was announced this year, the same ol’ trend began to unfold. People liked the S1’s zippy 231-horsepower engine and compact size, but yearned over the micro’s potential for more power.
Stephan Reil, Technical Director at Audi’s Quattro branch, recently told Top Gear that an RS version simply isn’t realistic due to its chemistry with the models above it.
“I really love the S1, it’s a really cool car, but to have the right horsepower gap between an S1 and a potential RS 1 would mean the RS 1 would get close to the [292-hp] S3,” he said. “Then you have intra-company competition, and that’s a problem.”
Reil’s concerns over a potential RS 1 are echoed in the upcoming RS 3. The car’s second generation is expected to equip a 2.5-liter TSFI five-cylinder with around 360 hp, but there are those who simply want more. Reil says they won’t get it.
“Power is not an issue – you saw with the A3 Clubsport Quattro Concept, we had a five-cylinder turbo with 525bhp, so if I put that in this new RS 3, I would burn up the RS 4 and RS 5, and be very close to the RS 6 and RS 7,” he explained.
Although it may be enticing to campaign for an LS1-swapped MX-5, eventually you won’t be selling any Corvettes.
The second-gen RS 3 is currently awaiting its production greenlight, so we don’t exactly know what it’ll look like yet. A five-door unit is planned first, but Audi is pondering a sedan version that could take major design and styling cues from the aforementioned Clubsport (pictured).
However it comes out, one thing’s for sure: the RS 3 will be exactly where Audi wants it.