40 years of iconic RS design heritage
The man responsible for shaping the future of that iconic Audi RS look is Audi Head of Design Marc Lichte. His passion for performance styling was fanned when he first saw the Audi Sport quattro at the 1983 Frankfurt Motor Show – the moment where the seeds of Audi’s RS design DNA really took root.
Designed to elevate the grip offered by the original 1980 Audi quattro’s pioneering quattro all-wheel drive on slippery stages of the World Rally Championship, the Audi Sport quattro boasted a significantly wider track with large bold flared arches to cover the four wheels.
It certainly had the desired effect on-track: propelling Audi drivers Hannu Mikkola and Stig Bloqvist to a series of dominant back-to-back World Rally title wins that changed the face of the sport. But it also marked the start of a styling philosophy – ‘making technology visible’ – that still sits at the core of Audi RS design to this day.
For Marc, it was a synapsis-igniting moment that ultimately set him on the course to becoming an Audi designer. “The Audi Sport quattro stood out from the crowd like no other car,” Marc says. “It was totally different from anything I’d seen. With its wide bodywork and its ‘blister’ wheel arches, it had such incredible character.
“The idea to express automotive sportiness that way, to use styling to make technology so dramatically visible, inspired me so much I immediately decided to become a designer at Audi. Ever since, sporty cars have represented that anticipatory excitement for me: adrenaline that has been cast in a mould; that has assumed a shape.”