Audi And Ford Could Soon Sell Competing RS-Badged Performance SUVs

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.

Maybe RS means "really soon" 3/24/2017 4:43:29 PM