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Explained: Audi's S and RS range

Explained: Audi's S and RS range


Audi’s performance cars - both its S and RS models - have, for a long time, stood for undercover yet brutally fast ways of getting from A to B.

Audi’s performance cars - both its S and RS models - have, for a long time, stood for undercover yet brutally fast ways of getting from A to B. Now, the range of cars wearing these performance badges is bigger than ever. In fact, there are now 15 S and RS Audi models, which goes to show the variety it now offers. 

In this we cover the:

So what do you need to know about them? Well, let’s dive right in and see. 

How did it begin? RS

The cars you’re probably most familiar with today are the Audi RS6 and RS4 Avant models; flying estate cars and that’s where it all began in 1994, turning the rather mundane Audi 80 estate into an unexpected powerhouse. 

The original Audi RS model the RS 2 Avant

And it worked! The marriage of supercar performance with estate car space, for kids, dogs and luggage was a winning one and the Audi RS2 Avant, a rather work-a-day looking car spawned the RS models which we covet today.

S3 / RS 3

The range kicks off, as it has done for some time, with the S3. It’s powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine bringing 306bhp and a 0-60mph time of 4.6 seconds. However, thanks to well-judged suspension it remains a relatively comfortable daily option. 

Audi RS3 Front and Rear ViewHowever, things take a more serious turn with the new RS3. It’s got a powerful 2.5-litre five-cylinder petrol engine deploying a hefty 395bhp, allowing for a top speed - on certain models - of up to 180mph. 

Audi S3 Sportback Audi S3 Test Drive Review  

S4 / RS 4

Those after a more practical bodystyle might be better served opting for the larger S4 or RS4 instead. The S4 - available as either a saloon or estate - uses a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 diesel with 342bhp, but with the ability to deliver up to 39.8mpg - making it a great all-rounder.

Audi RS4 Front ViewAfter the RS2 the dawn of the millennium came the first RS you’d truly recogniset he RS4. The RS4 is another kettle of fish entirely. Only available as an estate, it’s powered by a powerful 2.9-litre bi-turbo V6 petrol engine. The RS 4 will crack 0-60mph in 3.8 seconds, yet thanks to that estate layout it’s got more than enough space for everyday duties. 

Audi S4 Avant Audi S4 Saloon Audi RS4 Avant

S5 / RS 5

The S5 and RS 5 models follow a similar setup to the S4 and RS 4, albeit in a slightly sleeker coupe or five-door coupe ‘Sportback’ bodystyle. It’s a great option for those who want a more dynamic-looking option, but retaining plenty of performance.

Audi RS5 Front and Rear ViewAs before, the S4 uses a 3.0-litre diesel while the RS 5 utilises that impressive 2.9-litre V6 petrol. 

Audi S5 Sportback Audi S5 Coupe Audi RS5 Coupe Audi RS5 Sportback

S6 / RS 6

We jump up a bodysize with the S6 and RS 6 - and we go up another level in terms of performance, too. In line with many other S models in the range, the S6 uses a 3.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine, but with a relatively soft-sprung setup this is one comfortable option.

Audi RS6 Side ViewTwo years after the RS4 was introduced, Audi introduced the RS6; it was based on the Audi A6 and for the first time came in a saloon body as well the Avant estate. Now the estate-only RS 6, is a very serious contender. With a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8, the RS 6 produces a massive 592bhp and will hit a top speed of up to 189mph depending on specification. 

Audi S6 Avant Audi S6 Saloon Audi RS6 Avant

S7 / RS 7

Again, the S7 and RS 7 follow on the theme of previous models. Both feature the same powertrains as the S6 and RS 6, but they’re incorporated into a sleeker Sportback bodystyle. 

Audi RS7 Front ViewHowever, they don’t fall down in terms of practicality. In fact, the RS 7 offers up an impressive 537 litres of boot space, providing more than enough space for several bags. 

Audi S7 Sportback Audi RS7 Sportback


Audi’s S8 has been an undercover cult presence for some time, having had a starring role in many successful movies. The latest version plays just the same understated tune as before, with styling that doesn’t raise too many suspicions about the performance underneath. 

Audi S8 Front View

However, with a 4.0-litre V8 under the bonnet it’s got some serious performance. In fact, it’ll manage the 0-60mph sprint in 3.6 seconds and hit a top speed of 155mph. 

Audi S8


Marking our first foray into Audi’s range of performance SUVs, the SQ2 arrives as the smallest option available. However, it punches well above its weight thanks to a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine with 296bhp and 400Nm of torque. 

Audi SQ2 Front ViewHowever, you get that performance in a useful package, with the SQ2’s well-sized boot and robust cabin making it a great option for families. 

Audi SQ2


The RS Q3 takes things up a notch courtesy of a turbocharged 2.5-litre petrol engine with 394bhp. Despite its diminutive proportions, the RS Q3 will prove more than a match for many sports cars thanks to a 0-60mph time of just 4.3 seconds. 

Audi RSQ3 Front ViewThe RS Q3 also sits 10mm lower than the regular Q3, which aids cornering and gives the car a more purposeful stance on the road. 

Audi RSQ3

SQ 5

The regular Q5 is a consistent hit for Audi and the more powerful SQ5 is often seen as a go-to option for those who want the space of the regular car but with added grunt. It uses a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 diesel engine with 336bhp and 700Nm of torque. 

Audi SQ5 Front ViewHowever, the real bonus with the SQ5 is how useable it is. It’s got a large boot, a spacious interior and plenty of standard equipment, too. 

Audi RQ5

SQ 7

The seven-seater SQ7 is an ideal option for larger families thanks to its generous seating layout and extra-large boot. Audi recently ditched the SQ7’s diesel engine in favour of that ever-popular 4.0-litre V8 engine used elsewhere in the range.

Audi SQ Front ViewIt gives the SQ7 a fantastic turn of pace. In fact, despite being a large seven-seat SUV, the SQ7 will manage 0-60mph in just 3.9 seconds

Audi SQ7

SQ 8 / RS Q8

The more coupe-like SQ8 and RSQ8 builds on the same platform as the SQ7, but lacks the seven-seater option of that car. The SQ8 uses the same 4.0-litre turbocharged petrol V8 that you get in the SQ7, bringing similar performance.

Audi RSQ8 Front ViewThe RSQ8, meanwhile, uses the same engine but takes that power level up to an impressive 592bhp.

Audi SQ8 Audi RSQ8


Both the TTS and TTRS have been long standing hits in the Audi range, providing all of the performance that most people could want alongside a sleek and compact coupe - or convertible - bodystyle. 

Audi TTRS Front ViewThe TTS uses a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine, while the TTRS takes this one step further with a 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol unit. Both, however, bring more than enough performance. 

Audi TTS Roadster Audi TTRS Coupe Audi TTRS Roadster


Audi’s flagship supercar - the R8 - sits atop the range, with its powerful naturally aspirated V10 being one of the finest engines available in any car on the market today. 

Audi R8 Front View

It’s also available as a convertible, allowing owners to enjoy the raucous exhaust note emitted by that engine even more. 

Audi R8 Coupe Audi R8 Spyder

RS e-tron GT

The RS e-tron GT is a sign of the times. It’s Audi’s first electric car to wear the famous RS badge and, as a result, has a whole lot of expectation riding upon it. With 637bhp, the RS e-tron GT is massively powerful and will manage the 0-60mph sprint in an impressive 3.1 seconds. 

Audi RS e-tron GT Front ViewPlus, it’ll manage up to 293 miles on a single electric charge, ensuring you can enjoy that performance for longer. 

Audi e-tron GT