Audi Q8 Sport concept
As Audi looks set to expand its range of RS-badged high-performance SUVs and crossovers, Ford is mulling the application of its own RS badge to a crossover or two.
The Ford news comes from the UK’s Car Dealer Magazine, which spoke to Dave Pericak, global boss of the brand’s performance division. Obviously a wise man, he says that “customers love performance,” and that while the definition of performance might be different for an SUV buyer “than what it means for … Focus and Fiesta” buyers.
The magazine puts forth the Kuga (the European name for the 2017 Ford Escape) as a prime candidate for RS-ification. That move might not be all that difficult using the 350-hp engine and performance-focused AWD system from the Focus RS, considering the Focus and Escape share a platform.
But in the U.S., the American automaker already has a near-performance SUV in the mid-size 2017 Ford Edge Sport, powered by the 2.7L EcoBoost V6. Replace that with the 3.5L turbo V6 and you’re on your way to a 400-hp-plus vehicle.
In the meantime, we wonder how Audi feels about that, as it gears up to launch a family of hot SUVs bearing its RS label.
At the recent launch of the forthcoming RS3 sedan, Audi Sport chief Stephan Winkelmann told a Car & Driver writer he’s “aware of Audi Sport’s lack of an extensive SUV range,” and said that will change.
Winkelmann says a CUV shift is due, implying Audi will be a driving force behind it and that “you will see it coming.”
He notes the brand’s only RS-branded crossover is the subcompact 2017 Audi Q3, a variant of that car not sold in North America.
Making Audi Sport’s job easier in creating a range of RS crossovers is Audi’s corporate cousin status with Volkswagen and Porsche: an RSQ5 (positioned above the existing 2018 Audi SQ5) would share much with its 2017 Porsche Macan Turbo platform mate, and a super-fast Q7 (there’s also already an SQ7 in Europe) or a production version of the Q8 Sport concept would have a lot in common with the 2017 Porsche Cayenne Turbo.
All of this is either a recipe for a future full of interesting crossovers, or an Audi lawsuit against Ford for copyright infringement. We’ll keep you posted on which direction things go.
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