It’s looking increasingly likely the next Audi RS 4 will be saying goodbye to the 4.2-liter, V-8 engine that has powered the high-performance variant of the A4 for the last two generations. In order to meet ever-tighter emissions standards, a V-6 with some sort of forced-induction will probably be finding its way under the hood.

This recent info comes courtesy of Motoring, who spoke with Heinz Hollerweger, Managing Director of quattro GmbH — the tuning arm charged with the development and construction of the R8 and Audi’s RS lineup. Hollerweger didn’t say definitively what would be powering the next RS 4, but did suggest Audi has some very powerful six-cylinder engines in the works. These engines could also make use of Audi’s latest electric turbocharger technology.

The engine downsize doesn’t come as a complete surprise. The latest S4 saw two cylinders lopped off its engine to make a V-6 — a change that was compensated with the addition of a supercharger. Similarly, the RS 6 went from a turbocharged V-10 to a turbocharged V-8. Also worth noting is that the first-generation B5 RS 4 was powered by a 2.7-liter, twin-turbo V-6.

Hollerweger went on to confirm the next R8 would be powered exclusively by a V-10 — the same one found in the Lamborghini Huracan, on which the next R8 (possibly called R10?) will be based. You might remember that the current R8 was introduced with the same V-8 found in the RS 4, so this new strategy should help put some clear air between the two models.

Click past the jump to read more about the next Audi RS4.

Why it matters

A V-8 is obviously a great thing to have under your hood, but we don’t see much cause for worry when it comes to a switch to V-6 power for the RS 4. If Audi finishes development of the electric turbochargers in time for the next RS 4, then that’s definitely a reason for excitement. Plus, some RS models have been prone to understeer, in part because of the big V-8 sitting over the front axle. We would point to the vastly improved handling of the S4 after its switch from V-8 to V-6 power.

Of course, this could all be completely inconsequential for those of us in North America. The last estate-only RS 4 never made it to our shores, and there’s zero certainty the next one will make it over either.

Audi RS4

2013 Audi RS4 Avant High Resolution Exterior
- image 460439

Source: Motoring

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