Audi Concept Unveiled: Chunky Q3 Receives the RS Badge *eyes roll*

April 18, 2012

Audi has released photos of its latest concept in the form of its baby Q3 SUV adorned with the firm’s ‘ultra high performance’ RS (RennSport = Racing Sport) badge from their coveted Quattro GmbH wing. The official unveiling will occur at next week’s Beijing Motor Show and well, one could see why – this sort of thing will light-up eyes and sell in droves in China.

Propelling this (undoubtedly heavy) ‘RS’ SUV will be the company’s characterful 2.5L 5-cylinder turbo-charged unit dispelling the same 360 bhp power-figure as the one fitted inside the latest TT RS ‘Plus’. 4-wheel drive is a given and shuffling that power to all 4 wheels comes courtesy of a 7-speed R-tronic twin-clutch unit. All of this wizardy manages to propel the attractive anomaly to 60 mph in 5 seconds and hit 165 mph when going for gold.

Rather confusingly, the RS Q3 concept receives a hefty 25mm drop alongside the usual ‘sporty’ RS-morphing visual cues; redesigned chunkiness here and there and astronomically huge 335/30 tires riding on 20″ wheels. I say confusingly, because I’m starting to see a blurring cross-over of product offerings here. What is the point of a lowered, high-performance, fat-tire’d Q3 SUV…? An Rs3 is too low…? So then, enter-in the jacked-up Q3 and lower it/power it to make it ‘sporty’ enough for the cogs that will purchase such SUV taft as this…?

I suppose this is just Audi following their recent mandate of filling in the gaps of every possible niche market out there… Still though, I remain baffled by their marketing department-lead decisions for their model extensions.

Also worth noting is that Audi created a hypo ‘Custom Concept’ version of their Q5 SUV about a year or so ago but noted that the company would never make an RS version of their SUVs unless it was “technically possible”… riiiight.

For those that may be unaware, the Quattro GmbH wing of Audi is a private subsidiary that (used-to) only produces top-tier, limited-edition, high performance models drawn from the Audi stable. Past memorable efforts include the very first ‘RS’-badged Audi RS2 Avant of the mid-90’s followed by two seperate generations of both the RS4 and RS6. The later ’06-’08 RS4 being held of considerable excellence across the landscape of petrolheads and the motoring press worldwide.

Yet, over the past few years we’ve seen a drastic change-of-direction for the ‘RS’ badged Audis. It seems Audi have decided “If people will buy them, we’ll build them”. Consequently, we now also have a TT RS, a TT RS ‘Plus’, an RS5 and an RS3 – all of them receiving decidedly lacklustre reviews from the motoring world… A new RS4 was also recently unveiled. Seems Audi’s RS is following BMW’s lead with the milking of their ‘high performance’ M-badge…

All in the name $ cha-ching $ cha-ching $ and the fact that people nowadays (oddly) seem to love driving cars that look like toys…

-Blake J.
AutoInjected.com


Legends: The Porsche 550 RS Spyder

January 11, 2012
  The Porsche 550 Spyder of the 1950’s. Rarely has a purpose-built sportscar rendered so much international acclaim and praise for its ‘Giant killing’ abilities alongside outright victories of some of the most demanding and challenging races (most notably its win in the 1956 Targa Floria) of the era from which it was conceived. But that it was also remembered as being a poster-child for a high-profile (and seemingly, cursed) city-to-city ‘Speed Kills’ campaign in the USA (after movie-star James Dean’s death in his ‘Little Bastard’ 550 Spyder) only further serves to inflitrate the mysterious and legendary effects that the 550 had on not only the racing scene and the general public, but also on the future of Porsche as a marque that had undeniably made its mark on the sportscar scene.
  Only 90 examples were made between October 1952 and June 1956 with the first four cars going to Porsche KG for testing and racing. The first 2 two examples bore removeable hardtops to aid in aerodynamics whilst racing against the other Motorsport leviathans of the time – namely the Jaguar D-types and Mercedes 300 SLRs – and upon the first race of the 1953 season at the Nurburgring (in appalling conditions), the 550 won outright in its very first race. A month later at Le Mans, both cars were entered and won their 1500cc class, ending up 15th overall.
  All 550s were built by hand and saw them borrowing parts from its 356 predecessor and Volkswagen during its build-evolution. Subsequently, each 550 made over the years received gradual improvements and upgrades along the way. Power for those first handful of cars originally came from the 356’s 1500 Super engine that was good for up-to 100 bhp, but eventually the reliably robust type-547 1498cc 4-cam engine, built by Ernst Fuhrmann, would come to readily power the 596 kg lightweight 550 with its larger bore and shorter stroke.
  Eventually, after a couple of years spent refining both the body and the mechanics of the 550, work was commissioned in 1955 to coachbuilder Wendler of Reutlingen, Germany to build 69 road-going examples for privateers, 33 of which would be bound for the USA. The 550 Spyder (renamed from ‘550 1500/RS’ to ‘550 Spyder’ by an American, for the American market) would continue on with racing success at the hands of such legendary drivers as Stirling Moss, Hans Herrmann and Richard von Frankenberg to name but a few, claiming multiple victories with the 550 during their racing careers.
  The 550 represented Porsche’s proper entry into the world of International Motorsport and was responsible for the introduction of the ‘RS’ Renn Sport (‘motorsport’ in German) moniker that has been attached to every road-going, limited ‘Hot’ Porsche ever since. Yet most importantly, the success of the 550 resulted in the furthering of Porsche’s Motorsport division throughout the 1960’s and onwards which, as we know, laid the foundations for such incredibe creations such as the 917 and 956 racecars of later years. No surprise then that 550 Spyders exchange hands nowadays in the $1-million+ arena… A true legend, it will always be.
-Blake J.
AutoInjected.com

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