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ⓘ Audi Sport GmbH
Audi Sport GmbH, formerly known as quattro GmbH, is a high-performance division of Audi, a division of the Volkswagen Group.
Founded in October 1983 as quattro GmbH, it primarily specialises in producing high performance Audi cars and components, along with purchaser specified customisations. The companys former name was an homage to Audis original four-wheel drive rally-inspired road car - the Audi Quattro. In 2016, the company was renamed Audi Sport GmbH.
It is located in a 3.500 square metres 37.670 sq ft site at Neckarsulm, near Stuttgart, in the German State of Baden-Wurttemberg. With over twenty years experience, their own development and manufacturing factories are based within the larger 10.700 square metres 115.170 sq ft site of the now defunct German automotive maker and Wankel pistonless rotary engine pioneer NSU Motorenwerke AG NSU, on what is now known as Audis "aluminium plant", or aluminium site.
Although "quattro GmbH" as a company may be relatively unknown, compared to its parent, Audi, its core products include the Audi RS4, the Audi RS6 and the Audi R8. Furthermore, it is a closed company, in that it does not sell its automobiles directly to the public via franchised outlets under its own brand name; instead, they are sold under the Audi marque. However, it does now sell quattro GmbH branded lifestyle products and accessories via Audi franchised outlets and Audi Forum such as that located in the Allianz Arena on the northern outskirts of Munich, Germany.
1. Business areas
Audi Sport GmbH specialises in four key areas, including the design, testing and production of specialist and high performance Audi automobiles, such as the Audi RS3, Audi RS4, Audi RS5, Audi RS6, Audi RS7, Audi RS Q3, Audi TTRS and the Audi R8.
They also design and specify roadwheels, and design and produce sports suspension, and the specialist car body parts which are mainly used on the Audi "S line" trim specification available on most of the model range.
1.1. Business areas RS cars
The Audi RS cars have technology and performance comparable with high performance sports cars such as the Porsche 911. Being based on conventional saloon sedan or estate station wagon cars, RS models also retain the everyday comfort and practicality of regular mainstream models. They are some of the most powerful vehicles ever offered by Audi. quattro GmbH create, design, develop and produce all RS models in conjunction with parent, AUDI AG.
The "RS" initials are taken from the German: RennSport – literally translated as "racing sport". RS is Audis highest trim level, positioned above the "S" "Sport" specification level of Audis regular model range. RS cars are usually produced in limited numbers over a limited time scale, and pioneer some of Audis latest and most advanced technology and engineering prowess; therefore, "RS" cars could be described as and are often marketed via television advertising as "halo vehicles". Whilst RS cars generally command a much higher purchase price, compared to their lesser brethren, they also retain very high residual values too.
1.2. Business areas S line
S line is a trim specification that is offered on many Audi models. Whilst the individual S line parts and components are designed and manufactured by quattro GmbH, Audi "S line" cars are still manufactured in the same AUDI AG factories, on the same production lines as their related models with differing trim levels. Cars with "S line" trim should not be confused with high performance "S" and "RS" models. Audi cars with S line trim bear identical performance figures to their counterparts with SE or base trim levels, with the exception of the Audi Q7 S line with the 3.0 V6 TFSI petrol engines 213 kW 290 PS; 286 bhp for standard, 245 kW 333 PS; 329 bhp for S line).
1.3. Business areas Audi exclusive
quattro GmbH offers potential purchasers of new Audi cars the possibility of customising their new car beyond the scope of "conventional" options, to their own personal desires during the initial manufacturing process. This facility is called Audi exclusive, and extends to virtually all areas of the car. The customer may choose unique exterior paint, in any colour, as well as alloy wheels originally developed by quattro GmbH. For the interior, the upholstery can be finished in various grades and grains of leathers including Nappa, in a choice of colours. These coloured leathers may also be applied to interior door coverings and rear parcel shelves. Headlining fabrics can be customised in colour, along with seat belt webbing. The interior can be finished with a wide selection of wooden trims, sourced from around the world, along with colour coordinated piping on the edges of tailored floor carpet mats. A range of in-car office equipment is also available. quattro GmbH first offered this service at the 1995 Frankfurt International Motor Show.
1.4. Business areas Audi lifestyle / Audi Accessories
From 1985, quattro GmbH have developed a range of Audi lifestyle products, known as Audi Accessories. These include mountain bikes and personal leather goods, such as briefcases, handbags, purses and wallets.
2. Car production
quattro GmbH has historically only been able to produce one specific model at a time at its sole plant at Neckarsulm. Chronologically, the first quattro GmbH model produced was the Audi RS2 Avant, a joint venture between Porsche and quattro GmbH, from 1994–1996 and actually built at Porsches Zuffenhausen plant. After this initial joint venture, all subsequent cars have been solely with the exception of the Audi TT RS produced at Neckarsulm by quattro GmbH. The second car was the C4 S6 Plus, produced from April 1996 to July 1997. Third was the 2000–2001 B5 RS4 Avant quattro; fourth was the 2003 C5 RS6 quattro; fifth was the 2005 B7 A4 DTM Edition saloon. Sixth out of quattro GmbH was the 2006 B7 RS4 quattro, seventh out of quattro GmbH was the 2006 B7 S4 25 Quattro, the eighth was a special edition A4 S-Line with 220 hp 223 PS; 164 kW and additional options for local markets – for example the UK Special Edition with black optics pack, ventilated cross-drilled front disc brakes, black exhaust pipes, two tone leather interior – and the Swedish TS designation with ventilated cross-drilled front disc brakes, S4 chassis, sport seats and aluminum interior detailing, and as of 2009, the ninth and latest offering is the 2008 C6 RS6 5.0 TFSI quattro.
In 2005 they built an Audi TT quattro sport with 176 kW
The Audi R8 is built in a new and totally separate quattro GmbH plant at Neckarsulm.
The latest Audi TT RS and the Audi RS3 are both notable departures from this Neckarsulm-only production tradition. Whilst the TT RS and RS3 were wholly designed, developed and engineered at Neckarsulm by quattro GmbH, they are manufactured alongside the non RS Audi models, with the TT RS being manufactured at Gyor, Hungary, by AUDI AG subsidiary Audi Hungaria Motor Kft.
quattro GmbH-produced cars from Neckarsulm can be identified by their specific 2nd and 3rd digit of the World Manufacturer Identifier section of the vehicles Vehicle Identification Number VIN – quattro GmbH manufactured cars begin with W UA., whereas cars produced by AUDI AG in Germany begin with W AU.
2.1. Car production Audi R8
The Audi R8 two-seat mid-engined sports car was exclusively designed and developed and is produced by quattro GmbH. An old factory on the Audi Neckarsulm site was redeveloped, and €28millon was invested in the new R8 production line. Around 250 employees work on this car.
The longitudinally orientated 4.2 litre Fuel Stratified Injection FSI V8 engine used in the R8, rated at 309 kW 420 PS; 414 bhp and 430 N⋅m 317 lbf⋅ft of torque, is shared from the B7 RS4 quattro, but modified to use a dry sump lubrication system and induction system.
A subsequent V10 engined version of the R8 is also available, using a de-tuned version of their sister companys 5.2-litre FSI V10, used in the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4. This variant produces 386 kW 525 PS; 518 bhp and 530 N⋅m 391 lb⋅ft of torque.
Furthermore, quattro GmbH unveiled a diesel engined R8 concept, the "R8 V12 TDI" later renamed "R8 TDI Le Mans". This was to use a 6.0-litre V12 engine, utilising Volkswagen Groups long-established Turbocharged Direct Injection TDI turbodiesel technology. This engine was rated at 368 kW 500 PS; 493 bhp and 1.000 N⋅m 738 lbf⋅ft of torque.
2.2. Car production Audi Q7 V12 TDI quattro
quattro GmbH has developed the most powerful diesel powered sport utility vehicle SUV in its class. The Audi Q7 V12 TDI quattro is fitted with a V12 Turbocharged Direct Injection TDI internal combustion engine. A world first, this all new diesel engine displaces 6.0 litres, generating a motive power output of 368 kW 500 PS; 493 bhp measured according to Directive 80/1269/EEC at 4.000 rpm, and 1.000 N⋅m 738 lbf⋅ft of torque at 1.750–3.000 rpm. This allows it to accelerate from 0–100 km/h 0–62 mph in 5.5 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h 155.3 mph. quattro GmbH have developed this new engine using existing technology from Audis Le Mans endurance racing programme – the Audi R15 TDI.
3. Comparisons to other brands
Audi Sport GmbH is related to Audi in a similar manner to other German car manufacturers "performance divisions" – such as "Mercedes-AMG GmbH" and Mercedes-Benz, "BMW M GmbH" and BMW, "Volkswagen R GmbH" and Volkswagen, or "Opel Performance Center GmbH" and Opel.
A similar operation called "Volkswagen Individual GmbH", founded February 2003, is provided for Audis Volkswagen Group sister company Volkswagen Passenger Cars at Wolfsburg. Volkswagen Individual GmbH produce the Volkswagen R series of cars, including the Golf R32 and the latest Passat R36, and are also able to provide purchaser requested customisations under the "Volkswagen Individual" label, similar to "Audi exclusive", during the initial factory manufacturing process. This service is also offered routinely to purchasers of Volkswagen Passenger Cars flagship models – the Phaeton and the Touareg, at their respective production plants.