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Audi Promises RS Models Will Be Electrified 'In The Near Future'

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Audi's 48-volt mild hybrid technology will 'proliferate' through the brand's model lines.

Nearly four years ago, Audi announced plans to bolster the electrical systems in its cars with newfangled 48-volt technology. One of the promised innovations from that development was an electrically-driven turbocharger that could virtually eliminate turbo lag. Unfortunately, all the benefits of Audi's 48-volt technology have not yet come to pass, but they could be on the horizon. Speaking with Anthony Garbis, Product Manager for RS 5, at the 2018 New York Auto Show, we learned RS models will get juiced sooner rather than later.

"You will see future Audi Sport models with electrification," said Garbis as he was careful not to give specifics. "We will be thrilling you in the near future. Pretty soon. You're going to be seeing some future RS models with electrification and 48-volt will proliferate through the model lines in the future." While electrification could give RS models a performance boost, Audi could leverage the technology to hedge against future changes in global emissions regulations. Rumors of Audi applying its 48-volt technology to performance models have swirled since 2014, when then-head of Quattro GmbH, Heinz Hollerwerger, said the company was open to it.

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"Really, to reduce below 100g, we have to add some kind of electrification," Hollerwerger told CarAdvice at the time. "The question is, in which way? We could not exclude electrification and we would not exclude electrification. I think it's a technology that gives some additional performance [as well as emission benefits]." As for which RS models could get electrified first, Garbis kept quiet. "We can't really discuss much on that at the moment," he said, though a logical application of the technology would likely be in the upper echelons of Audi's model range. Even so, don't expect it to happen on the R8 in conjunction with an engine smaller than a V10.

"R8 is a V10 car," said Garbis. "You know, I love [the R8 turbo V6 rumor]. It always seems to come before an auto show, too. I don't know why [...] Everyone says that and then I chuckle every time I read it, and then it goes away. So if that's enough of an answer for you..."