The number of cars offered with rear-wheel drive seemingly shrinks every year. But one manufacturer might soon start embracing the formula at a time when its competitors are straying away from it.
Audi Sport CEO Stephan Winklemann told Auto Express on Thursday that the performance sub-brand might make rear-wheel-drive models in the future. The German automaker switched the name of its performance division from Quattro GmbH to Audi Sport last year to reflect that.
“I can imagine we can also have cars with rear-wheel drive or two-wheel drive in the future,” Winklemann said, via Auto Express.
Quattro, if you’re unfamiliar with the name, is the name of Audi’s all-wheel-drive system, which has been the manufacturer’s bread and butter since the 1980s. Winklemann, who came to Audi in 2016 from its sister brand Lamborghini, realized having it double as the name of Audi’s go-faster arm could be confusing.
In addition, Winklemann thought it hindered Audi’s ability to adopt a product strategy already employed by Lamborghini on its Huracan.
The Italian marque makes a rear-drive version of the Audi R8’s cousin that’s aimed more at enjoyment than sheer performance. If customers want the most capable Huracan possible, however, they can opt for the all-wheel-drive variant.
“Quattro can be a company, but it can also be an option. We wanted this to be clarified,” Winklemann told Auto Express. “We looked for something that was immediately recognizable — something that could be more than just the name of a company.”
Audi’s change in direction is especially interesting given that one of its main rivals, BMW — which prides itself on making cars for enthusiasts — has decided to do away with rear-drive in its new M5, much to the public’s ire.
Thumbnail photo via Audi