For Better or Worse, 2026 Marks the End of the Audi Brand as we Know It
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For Better or Worse, 2026 Marks the End of the Audi Brand as we Know It

Audi is making its move, and it could end up being a front-runner in full-scale electrification

Audi finally revealed the production version of the E-Tron GT in early 2021, and to our surprise, it was a lot more than just a rebadged Porsche Taycan. This was a very important thing to take note of as it signals at least some uniqueness for the future of the Audi Brand as it shifts into full scale electrification. That shift, which was once thought to be closer to a decade away, is now on the horizon as new reports say that the Audi brand is about to take a big leap forward much sooner than expected, leaving the brand as we know it in the past. The future is a lot closer that we all though, folks.

Audi Aims to Launch On EVs from 2026 On

For Better or Worse, 2026 Marks the End of the Audi Brand as we Know It Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Audi has definitely embraced electrification better than most automakers. Following the revealed of the Audi E-Tron Quattro, Audi followed up with the new E-Tron GT in production form in early 2021. Just when you thought the company was done playing with batteries, at least for now, April 2021 brough us the Q4 E-Tron and the Q4 Sportback E-Tron, but it didn’t stop there as the company’s very next step was to reveal the A6 E-Tron Concept – the battery electric replacement for the A6 and potentially Audi’s first electric wagon. As the weeks passed, we learned that the Q4 will be the smallest Audi E-Tron with exception of, possibly, a new electric sports car, and now we’ve learned that Audi is putting the hammer down on its electrification strategy, and 2026 is going to be a pivotal point in the brand’s history.

For Better or Worse, 2026 Marks the End of the Audi Brand as we Know It Exterior
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In a report from Reuters, which quotes German newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Audi has decided that 2026 will be the official cut-off for gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles. From that point on, any new vehicle would be battery electric, however, any lingering fuel-powered vehicles will continue to run out their natural life cycle.

This new Audi directive has apparently come down from none other than CEO Markus Duesmann himself, who has reportedly told “high-ranked officials” and labor representatives that the final fuel-powered vehicle will launch in 2026.

When the official announcement will come, however, is still a big mystery.

For Better or Worse, 2026 Marks the End of the Audi Brand as we Know It
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As of now, we know that the fuel-powered A4 and A6 will probably be the last to make a shift to full electrification, which is supposed to happen around 2030, at the end of their respective lifecycles. The A1 is also heading to the chopping block to avoid cannibalization from cars like the Volkswagen Polo, Skoda Fabia, and Seat Ibiza, all of which are produced by companies under VAG.

The Audi R8 and TT are rumored to either be discontinued altogether or become electric vehicles in the future, so it’s entirely possible that the last new Audi to have an internal combustion engine will be the next-gen A3.

That car will be based on the ninth-gen VW Golf (also the last fuel-powered golf) and would be due right around 2026 when the final fuel-powered Audi is launched. It doesn’t sound like a very good send-off for gas- or diesel-powered Audi’s but we’re sure the company will do something special to commemorate its past and encourage what’s coming in the future.

Final Thoughts

For Better or Worse, 2026 Marks the End of the Audi Brand as we Know It
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Will all of this said, the next 5 years are going to be very interesting for Audi. It’s certainly time to invest in a new car if you’re looking to keep the brands famed 2.5-liter inline-five or the naturally aspirated 5.2-liter V-10 in your life beyond this decade. With cars like the Audi RS3, TT-RS, and R8 as we know them living on borrowed time, you can bet that the last generation of these fuel-powered cars could easily slide into collector status in the future. As for Audi’s W-12, your very last chance might be the soon-to-launch A8 which will likely be the last new car from Audi and maybe even all VAG companies to sport a 12-cylinder engine. The good news is that cars like the E-Tron GT are here to remind us that the company might change its method of performance, but it will never be boring, and thanks to that, we can all sleep a little better at night.

Source: Reuters

Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topspeed.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 full bio
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