Next-gen Audi RS models won’t offer multiple powertrain choices – report

Future Audi RS models will offer a single powertrain option, as electric and PHEV roles to be filled by e-tron GT and 2022 RS4

Future RS-badged Audi products will not offer customers a choice between multiple powertrain choices, according to a new report.

The move was confirmed by Audi Sport sales and marketing boss Rolf Michl, speaking with British magazine Autocar: “We are well-known for precise portfolio planning, and we want to keep it easy for the customer. We will have one car with one engine. It doesn’t make sense to have different variants.”

However, restricting Audi Sport models to a single powertrain won’t prevent the advent of high-performance, RS-branded plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles.

“Maybe there will be different variants for different concepts, whether they are electrified, internal combustion-engined or otherwise, but every model will have a single drivetrain”, said Michl.

An RS variant of the upcoming e-tron GT electric sedan is set to be the first zero-emissions vehicle to emerge from Audi Sport, sharing its J1 platform with the new Porsche Taycan.

It’s plausible the hot Audi four-door – which has been spied testing in Europe in recent months in regular, non-RS guise – will borrow its powertrain from the mid-spec Turbo variant of the Taycan, which develops 460kW (or 500kW on overboost) and 850Nm from dual electric motors and a 93.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

The Porsche can cover the benchmark 0-100km/h sprint in just 3.2 seconds, towards a top speed of 260km/h. Relax your right foot and you’ll be able to achieve a 450km range on the European WLTP test cycle.

An RS version of the e-tron Sportback electric SUV is expected in the coming years – joining the recently revealed e-tron S – alongside a reborn, pure-electric R8 e-tron supercar.

As reported in January, Autocar understands the first plug-in hybrid RS model will be the next-generation RS4 Avant wagon, due after 2022. Expect a potent turbocharged four- or six-cylinder petrol engine mated to one or more electric motors for combined power and torque outputs likely matching or exceeding that of the current car’s 331kW/600Nm twin-turbo V6.

Audi Sport’s strategy move contrasts that of fellow German brand and rival, BMW M, which is expected to offer its next-generation M5 super-sedan with a choice of emissions-friendly powertrains.

According to reports, those will include a 559kW/1001Nm, V8-based plug-in hybrid, and a tri-motor 750kW all-electric variant offering a 2.9-second 0-100km/h time and a 700km range from a 135kWh battery pack.

Over at Mercedes-AMG, its era of electrification is expected to commence in the coming months with a circa-600kW, plug-in hybrid version of its GT 4-Door Coupe, likely dubbed ‘GT 73e’. The RS4-rivalling, next-generation C63 sports sedan – due in early 2022 – is rumoured to swap the current model’s twin-turbo V8 for a plug-in hybrid system based around the A45 S hot hatch’s 2.0-litre four-cylinder, sending drive to all four wheels.

The first new vehicle in Audi Sport’s one-model, one-engine product strategy commences with the recently-launched RS6 wagon and RS7 liftback, which – despite reports prior to their reveal suggesting the performance duo would offer a plug-in hybrid option – merely feature a 48-volt mild-hybrid system to improve fuel consumption from their 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8s.

The Audi e-tron GT ‘RS’ and plug-in Audi RS4 Avant are expected to lob in 2022-23.


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