Audi South Africa has applied what it describes as an "engine rationalisation" to its local range, quietly removing as many as 21 derivatives from its line-up.

We reached out to the local arm of the Ingolstadt-based automaker, which confirmed that it had earlier this year discontinued a number of variants, removing them from its official price-list (hat-tip to the studious folks over at duoporta, who first alerted us to Audi's action).

So, which models have been scrapped? Well, Audi SA confirmed to CARmag.co.za that it has discontinued the S1 (both three-door and Sportback versions) as well as the 1,8T FSI Sport derivatives (again, in both three-door and Sportback guises). That leaves two powerplant options in the A1 range: the 1,0T FSI and the 1,4T FSI.

The automaker also removed the 2,0TDI engine option from its A3 Sportback and Sedan line-ups, as well as discontinuing the base version of the A4 2,0T FSI. The A4 2,0T FSI Quattro Sport variant is likewise no longer, meaning all models in the regular A4 range (excluding, of course, the S4) are now front-wheel drive.

As many as six derivatives have been removed from the A5 line-up, from the base Quattro-equipped 2,0T FSI and 2,0TDI versions of the Coupé and Sportback (the higher-spec Sport models remain) to the base 2,0T FSI versions (both front-drive and Quattro) of the A5 Cabriolet.

The Q2 range has been rationalised as well, with all three manual models being discontinued, alongside what was the sole diesel model in the line-up, the 2,0TDI Sport. The 2,0T FSI Quattro version of the Q3 was likewise removed from the brand's official price-list.

The 2,0T FSI Quattro version of the TT coupé is no longer offered in SA (leaving a pair of front-wheel-drive petrol variants below the Audi Sport models), while the base Audi R8 V10 was also withdrawn from the range (leaving the V10 Spyder and full-fat V10 Plus).

So, why the seemingly drastic cull? Well, Audi SA told us that the action was taken “in an effort to simplify and reduce complexity” of the local model range and to “keep pace with evolving customer and market needs”. In short, that means the brand is focusing on the variants that sell relatively well and getting rid of those that don't.