The plan is already underway.
As automakers develop and produce electrification powertrains, customers are being given more choices than ever. Pure internal combustion, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electrics are all available, while hydrogen fuel cell powertrains also exist albeit in far fewer numbers. Automakers need to decide what powertrains to use for certain vehicles: it's simply too expensive and complicated for models to offer multiple propulsion options. Audi Sport has now made a critical decision regarding future RS models.
Autocar has learned that Audi Sport plans to offer only one powertrain per vehicle instead of Volkswagen's approach with both the VW GTI and GTE.
"We are well-known for precise portfolio planning and we want to keep it easy for the customer," said Audi Sport sales and marketing chief Rolf Michl. "We will have one car with one engine. It doesn't make sense to have different variants."
At the moment, only one electrified model exists in the lineup, the Audi RS6 Avant, which packs a 48-volt mild-hybrid system combined with its twin-turbo V8 combustion engine. Expect to see plug-in hybrids and all-electric RS models arrive in the next few years.
"Audi AG is positioning itself as consistently electric. The first step of electrification is already done with RS6 and there will be fully electric versions with e-tron GT," Michl added. "Our main focus is performance and everyday usability. There are brilliant aspects [of electrification] for performance cars such as torque vectoring and amazing cornering speeds. Electrified performance can absolutely be emotional."
Following the arrival of Audi e-tron GT, which was originally set to debut at the now-canceled 2020 LA Auto Show, a plug-in hybrid RS4 Avant will be unveiled. Unfortunately, it's not expected to come to the US. In any case, the writing is on the wall.
Audi Sport is rapidly progressing to all-out electrification and phasing out internal combustion is already underway. Having one engine per model makes that a far easier process.