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Under new management, Audi Sport is ramping up its electrification campaign, applying the RS name to a battery-powered platform in the form of the E-tron GT sedan production.
Most expected to be joined by an RS version of Audi's recently revealed E-tron Sportback is the sister model to the Porsche Taycan, which is scheduled to be offered in standard, S and high-performance RS trims throughout its lifetime. Also on the cards are a range of plug-in hybrid RS models, while a new E-tron variant of the current generation R8 is expected to appear in a few years ' time next year as a prelude to a potential all-electric R8 replacement.
Under the joint management of directors Oliver Hoffmann and Julius Seebach, the proposal for the Audi Sport division to adopt hybrid and electrical propulsion was created. Expanding into new EV and PHEV markets is a priority now that the SUV offensive in the division is well under way; this year the RS Q3 and RS Q3 Sportback, the diesel-powered SQ5 and the SQ8 and RS Q8 models have been introduced.
The E-tron GT concept featured a dual-engine, all-wheel-drive electric powertrain with a torque of 590hp and around 813Nm. A battery of 96kWh offered a reported range of 400 km, with a quote of 0-100kph in 3.5sec. The production version, which will make its debut at the LA motor show next year, will share its electrical J1 design with the Taycan, but it is not clear whether the three-variant line-up of Porsche, consisting of the 530hp 4S, the 680hp Turbo and the 761hp Turbo S, will move over with the same specifications.
Most likely than the Taycan version, the base E-tron GT would start at a lower output, and thus a lower price point. Nevertheless, both cars must use and weigh around the same 800V electrical architecture. Look forward to the launch of standard and S models with the RS arriving a little later.
Seebach also stated that the engineers of Audi Sport are actively designing plug-in hybrids. The powertrains will be introduced on the next generation of RS models, and it is known that the next generation of RS4 will be the first Audi RS model to be sold as a PHEV.
The car will contend head-to-head with the next Mercedes-AMG C63, which, as reported in October, will kill the current car's V8 in favor of a 4-cylinder 4-cylinder hybrid 507hp-plus. It will also be a four-wheel drive that challenges the long-established quattro system of Audi Sport when it arrives at the beginning of 2022. Allow a little longer for the new RS4 to arrive, given that the current model just went on sale last year.