Confusing the general public is something a carmaker will do from time to time. The Mercedes-Benz AMG absorption into Mercedes-AMG and subsequent quasi-AMG models is a recent example. Audi turning its Quattro GmbH division into Audi Sport GmbH is another.
Previously Quattro (stylized “quattro” with a lowercase q because brands hate proper punctuation) was the internal division at Audi responsible for the real top shelf, go-fast stuff, like the R8 and RS models. Now it gets a new name, and that’s Audi Sport.
The move, it seems, is to drive Audi Sport customer racing (the selling of GT3 cars to wealthy folks), car customization options and lifestyle articles “marketed as the Audi Sport collection.” Which, weirdly, seem like things that were already happening? (The good news is there’s no indication the Quattro all-wheel drive branding will change, because they’d be dumb to do away with that.)
Really, this comes down to a semantics argument. Audi Quattro was cool and iconic: it brought to mind the legendary geometric rally car of the 80s. What does Audi Sport even mean for a road car?
Currently, Audi Sport is Audi’s racing division. But slapping the name on road-going cars after killing off Audi’s most notable brand of the Audi Sport programs (the Audi Sport Le Mans team) seems like an ill-timed move.
But hey, it will probably appeal to some customer somewhere. Go figure.