Ingolstadt's M3-challenger will borrow something from the RS6.
The new Audi RS6 Avant marks a number of firsts for the German automaker's performance division. Not only will the latest be the first version to be sold in America, but it's also Audi Sport's first model with a hybrid powertrain. Its baby brother, though, will reportedly take the electrification even further.
After speaking with Audi Sport's new co-director Oliver Hoffmann, Autocar reports that the next-generation RS4 will pack a plug-in hybrid powertrain, marking another first for the division that aims to significantly ramp up its output in the coming years.
As it is, the Audi RS4 has switched back and forth between powertrain configurations over the course of the past couple of decades. They've all employed front-engine/all-wheel-drive setups, but the first (B5) and latest (fourth/B9) generations have both featured twin-turbo V6s, while the second (B7) and third (B8) packed naturally aspirated V8s. They've also alternated in transmission types, from a six-speed manual in the first two iterations to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission in the third and eight-speed automatic in the fourth. All the while they've steadily increased their output, from 375 horsepower to 414 and on to 444 in the past two (and significantly more torque in the latest).
While we don't know what sort of internal-combustion engine will be incorporated into the next-gen model, you can count on output to increase again, with the electric motor filling in the torque curve.
The new RS4 isn't expected to arrive until "early in the next decade," according to Autocar. And we hope it'll return to America (in some form). But it isn't the only new model in the works at Audi Sport, which is aiming to double its sales from about 30,000 units last year to around 60,000 by 2023. To get there, it plans to decrease the amount of time it takes to transform a "standard" Audi into an RS model from 18 months to just six.