Last month was Audi’s 18th consecutive sales record. In fact, its past June was the single highest sales record since Audi washed upon these American shores. So you can tell that things are looking up and up for the four-ringed brand; life has been so good for Audi that it’s listlessly resorted to picking on Acura from across the Internet.
So in 2013, what can you expect from the one brand that rightfully embraces its own hubris? Well, we can see a return of the allroad, the trendily lower-cased A4 wagon that’s been injected with a modicum of off-road ability. It’s just one more inch of ground clearance, but the “unique” grey-plastic fender flares, stainless steel skid plates, and token LED headlights will make it look like you just had to drive a Camel Trophy route on the way home from Safeway. That model will start at $39,600, or a healthy $7,000 over the regular A4. But then again, we don’t get the A4 Avant anymore—so if you can’t get a good financing deal on the far smaller Q5, the allroad is your best bet for cargo-carrying luxury.
And on big news for the performance front—we Americans finally see the RS5, the two-door supersledge that makes the regular S5 coupe look like yesterday’s leftovers. Yes, the fast one from Europe! This one just happens to have 450 horsepower and revs its 4.2-liter V-8 to 8,000 RPM. Audi evangelists proselytize about RS-branded cars like it’s the Second Coming, and if they’re quick on the preorder list they can sink into the Recaro seats of the RS5 starting at $68,900.
On the S front, the S6, S7 and S8 all liven up Audi’s midsize-to-large luxury sedans. Both the S6 and S7 have the same 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 with 420 horsepower, but the sexier styling of the latter raises the price from $71,900 (for the S6) to $78,800 for the S7.
The S8 has the same V-8 engine, but it just so happens to produce 520 horsepower—more, even, than the RS5. However, in the understatement of the century, The S8 happens to be a tiny bit larger. It will start at a not-insignificant $110,000, and will immediately go hunting for Porsche Panameras.
Lastly, the Q5 gets some upgrades—a new 3.0-liter diesel will come at the end of the year, and a hybrid model will also be added to the lineup. Pricing for these have not yet been announced, but expect the diesel to carry a premium of $3-5k over the regular cars, and if Volkswagen’s Touraeg pricing is any indication, a loftier premium for the hybrid. (A $12,000 premium, however, may be a tad excessive, but we won’t be surprised to see a Q5 hybrid ring in at $50,000.)
And thanks to roundabout marketing, Audi will position the diesel as a sporty variant to the hybrid model, probably because the mid-30s suburbanites who Audi wants to buy the Q5 will think there’s more to life than driving a hybrid, or something. Advertising is a funny business like that. But for Audi’s sales successes, it’s clearly worked.