Audi Sport Will Soon Phase Out Purely ICE-Powered RS Models as Electrification Becomes the Norm

As automakers shift deeper into electrification, the option of having a pure, unelectrified combustion engine is slowly fading away. The latest automaker to make this more than evident is Audi or, to be more specific, Audi Sport – the group within Audi that’s responsible for all the high-performance RS models that we all love. Audi marketing Boss Rolf Michl expanded on this in an interview with Autocar, exposing Audi Sport’s intention of limiting drivetrain options in the future for all RS models.

Goodbye Pure Audi RS Models, Hello Electrified Performance

2020 Audi RS6 Avant Exterior
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Audi’s sibling brand, Volkswagen, has been rather generous in offering a wide range of powertrain options in cars like the Golf. If you want gasoline power, you can buy the Golf GTI, while you can opt for the Golf GTD if you’re a diesel fan, or the GTE if you want plug-in hybrid performance. Audi, on the other hand, won’t be giving you that option if you’re eyeballing a future RS model. In his interview with Autocar, Marketing Boss Ralph Michl explained that all future RS models will feature some form of electrification, closing the doors on any combustion only models down the road.

“We are well-known for precise portfolio planning, and we want to keep it easy for the customer. We will have one car with one engine. It doesn’t make sense to have different variants. Maybe there will be different variants for different concepts, whether they are electrified, internal combustion-engined or otherwise, but every model will have a single drivetrain.”
Audi Teases an E-Tron GT That Could Battle the AMG GT 4-Door and 8-Series Gran Coupe on Electricity Alone Exterior Spyshots
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So, what can we expect down the road? Well, Audi AG, as a company, will continue to consistently push itself into the electric future. The way Michl sees it, the company has Audi Sport has already done so with the hybrid RS6 and the Audi E-Tron GT.

“Audi AG is positioning itself as consistently electric. The first step of electrification is already done with the RS6, and there will be fully electric versions with the E-tron GT. 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.”
2020 Audi RS6 Avant Exterior
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In short, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles are going to become a crucial piece to the puzzle that is Audi Sport’s range, and when this happens, there will only be electrified RS models. Is this a good thing? Well, if you’ve been paying attention to the performance that can be derived from 48-volt mild-hybrid systems, then I think you’ll agree with me when I say yes. Future RS cars will be more fuel-efficient (when not fully electric) and lighter thanks to the ability to downsize engines while supplementing power and torque delivery via electric motors. The future is coming fast, and in the end, mild-hybrid performance is going to be a huge advantage over pure ICE performance that we’ve always known and loved.

Audi RS6 Avant specifications
Engine twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8
Horsepower 591 hp
Torque 590 pound-feet @ 2,050 - 4,500 rpm
Transmission eight-speed automatic
0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) 3.6 seconds
0 to 200 mph (124 mph) 12 seconds
Top Speed 250 km/h (155 mph)

Source: Autocar

Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topsped.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read More
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