This should come as no surprise.
The battle of high-performance, German-built luxury vehicles isn't going to end anytime soon. That's the good news. The perhaps not so good news is that the case for the traditional rear-wheel-drive performance coupe and sedan is becoming difficult to make. While the upcoming next-generation BMW M3 and M4 will offer a RWD setup, Audi is sticking with its trademark Quattro AWD for its potent RS models, with the exception being the R8 RWS that is rumored to be coming to the US in 2021.
Speaking to Autocar, Rolf Michl, Audi Sport's sales and marketing chief, acknowledged the company has "used rear-wheel-drive in the latest R8. But normally, Quattro is part of our heritage. It means safe, agile and competitive driving. I don't hear any different views [from people] on this, even with electrified versions in the future. We'll stay with our approach: Quattro is a major part of RS models."
Anyone still hoping for, say, a RWD Audi RS5, should forget about the possibility for good. It's just not something Audi is going to do even though one of the benefits of RWD, aside from enthusiast driving, is lower emissions that could help the Audi Sport brand as a whole. However, there is an alternative that just so happens to work great with AWD: electrification.
Today's Audi e-tron SUV lineup is AWD-only and this will continue to be the case with the upcoming e-tron GT sedan and Q4 Sportback e-tron. So far, Audi's electrification push has been going well and the company is now strongly considering to fully electrify the next-generation R8 supercar.
Audi has gone on record stating it's committed to the R8 but did acknowledge some changes will be needed. Supposedly, a final decision has yet to be made for an all-electric or hybrid third-generation R8, but the former option is looking more likely.
Because the R8 serves as the brand's halo model, going all-electric certainly makes an awful lot of sense. It could also serve as a direct rival to the next Tesla Roadster. Despite the powertrain evolution, one thing will remain constant for Audi Sport: Quattro AWD.