And the next-gen Audi A4 e-tron will also be topped by a hot RS model.
The competent Audi A4 lineup is going to look very different in a few years as the brand transitions to fully electric powertrains. However, the next-generation A4 that is due in 2023 won't immediately ditch combustion power - at least not at the lower end of the lineup. Autocar has shed some more light on what to expect from the sixth generation of Audi's BMW 3 Series fighter. The range will use two different platforms depending on whether the specific model is a hybrid or a pure battery-electric. Right at the top, a new RS variant with all-wheel drive won't use a combustion engine at all.
The next Audi RS4 is likely to continue to use the existing 2.9-liter V6 gas engine with twin turbocharging. After all, Audi has already declared that it won't build new combustion engines from scratch.
However, this new RS4 will receive electric assistance. Audi is also working on a new, sleek A4 e-tron with a high-performance RS variant. The A4 e-tron will be a direct competitor to the BMW i4 - think of it as a smaller A6 e-tron Concept. This model is based on the Premium Platform Electric (PPE) architecture that will also be used for certain Porsche products. It'll be interesting to see if there is a performance gap between the electric-only RS and the hybrid RS4 or if Audi will simply be offering two equally quick performance sedans with different personalities.
More affordable versions of the upcoming A4 will use a reworked 2.0-liter turbo-four as well as a diesel engine. These units will be either mild hybrids or plug-in hybrids and, as usual, will be offered with Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system.
Expect either a conventional eight-speed automatic or a seven-speed dual-clutch. A 14.4 kWh lithium-ion battery on PHEV A4s could offer an electric-only range of close to 50 miles.
But for speed freaks, the high-performance RS variant topping the A4 e-tron lineup will hold the most appeal. This version should produce around 469 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque. Currently, the most powerful Audi A4 sedan in the US is the S4 with 349 hp. With the RS-badged A4 e-tron and the new hybrid RS4, Audi will be well-positioned to take on its M and AMG rivals in this segment, along with the Tesla Model 3. The next-gen Audi A4 is expected to go on sale in the UK in 2023.