On the back of a statement that Quattro GmbH boss Heinz Hollerweger wants the next-generation RS4 will be out “relatively early” in the production cycle, further developments in powertrain and packaging could make the new A4 halo model more exciting than ever.
Strong demand from markets such as China and the US has reportedly seen Audi re-evaluate its Avant-only stance towards the RS4 – a move that will once again place this halo model on a like-for-like basis with BMW’s M3 and the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG.
Furthermore, Audi’s head of technical development, Dr. Ulrich Hakenberg, has hinted that the new car will dispense with the company’s naturally aspirated V8 RS4 and RS5 Coupé in favour of a 3,0-litre V6 featuring electric turbocharging technology.
Because exhaust gases do not drive it, an electric turbo provides instant boost until an accompanying larger gas-driven turbocharger chimes in. This setup eliminates turbo lag and helps to reduce CO2 emissions. The battery feeding the turbo’s electric motor is charged via brake energy recuperation.
Owing to the system’s greater cost when compared with a conventional twin-turbo setup, Hackenberg has stated that it would be the preserve of “very top-end models”.
Although performance figures are yet to be confirmed, Hackenberg has stated that the upcoming S4, likely powered by a twin-turbo 3,0-litre V6, “….will produce in excess of 335 bhp (260 kW).”
Hackenberg has conceded that, owing to the car being two cylinders shy of its Stuttgart rival, the new RS4’s power output won’t quite match the C63 AMG S’s 375 kW. A ballpark figure of around 360 kW has been doing the rounds, though.
The new Audi RS4 is expected to arrive towards the end of 2016.