If so, what does that mean for the RS6 Avant?
While the upcoming Audi A6 e-tron has taken center stage lately, the German automaker is in the final stages of testing the next generation A6 sedan and the investible RS6 model.
But in what body style? Our spy photographers caught a potential next-gen RS6 test mule undergoing winter testing in the Alps. The RS6 may be getting a name change to RS7, and that's where things could get interesting. Currently, there's the RS6 Avant wagon and RS7 Sportback/four-door coupe. Will both body styles be sticking around?
This test mule is very obviously a sedan, but that's not what caught our attention. We immediately noticed a pair of centrally-mounted, performance-focused exhaust pipes. This is not the first time we've seen this exhaust system.
A little over a year ago, we spotted an S6 prototype with this same exhaust, and we thought Audi might have been testing it for emissions purposes. Now that it's back again, we have a new theory: a next-gen RS7 sedan.
Combining the RS6 and RS7 into a single model makes sense as Audi transitions towards an all-electric future. Remember, it won't have any new purely combustion-engined vehicles after 2026.
But a yellow sticker on the windshield (top left) indicates this vehicle is somehow electrified. There's also a charging port, meaning this RS model will likely benefit from plug-in hybrid power.
That new exhaust system, a PHEV setup, some RS styling, and more dramatic wheel arches indicate we're looking at a plug-in RS6/RS7 sedan.
The prototype may be covered in camouflage, but you can still see the wide fenders and side sills, indicating a high-performance vehicle. The RS6 Avant is already an ultra-niche model, and it's pretty much the same story when it comes to the RS7 Sportback. A wagon and Sportback may continue to be offered but in more limited numbers. It's still too early to know for sure. A sedan would immediately be a BMW M5 rival.
The next M5 is also receiving electrification, and sources suggest that the BMW XM could donate its 750-horsepower twin-turbo V8 hybrid system. The VW Group's V8 PHEV setup produces up to 690 hp and 641 lb-ft of torque.
More information is expected to arrive in the coming months ahead of the anticipated 2025 model year debut.
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