Audi Sport development chief Stephan Reil has called Drift Mode technology senseless and needless, entirely ruling out for future RS models an all-wheel drive system that can help a driver slide like that used in the Ford Focus RS and Mercedes-AMG E63 S.
Speaking in an interview with Autoblog, the bloke who makes the big decisions at Ingolstadt’s performance division didn’t mince his words about the seeping introduction of all-paw systems deliberately tampered by the electronic stability control (ESC) into a drift.
“I don’t like them, I do not see the reason for them,” Reil told the US website.
“[For Audi there will be] no drift mode. Not in the R8, not in the RS3, not in the RS6, not in the RS4.
“We do not see the sense in sitting there burning the back tyres. It’s not fast.”
Reil indicated he was not against an Audi RS model being able to slide sideways on the throttle, but seemed philosophically against manipulating the ESC software and torque vectoring all-wheel drive to give the driver a confidence to perform oversteer manoeuvres.
“You can do it [drifting] yourself with the ESP off, if you hold it [the button] for three seconds,” he stammered.
“Then it will not intervene for you even when [the car] fully out of control, because that's what you asked it not to do. You wanted the full control by pushing that button. You got it.”
For a company once infamous for dynamics that tended towards determined understeer, however, Audi has in the past decade come a long way. While the likes of the S3 and TT S still use a front-wheel-biased on-demand all-wheel drive system, models such as the S4 (optionally) and RS3 score a ‘crown’ centre differential that will allow oversteer in ESC Sport.
An R8 or RS6 Avant? Big-time drift-o if provoked. With ESC off, of course.