The E-Tron and E-Tron Sportback are also expected to get the full-fat RS treatment.
Audi Sport had a crowded 2019 with numerous S and RS debuts across several segments of the market, but the early part of the new decade will be even busier as a result of focusing on electrification. The next-generation RS4 Avant has already been announced with a plug-in hybrid powertrain, and a new report from Autocar stipulates it will join several pure EVs due to be launched in the years to come.
Audi’s version of the Taycan, the E-Tron GT, is set to receive both S and RS derivatives in the same vein as Porsche’s first electric car is currently offered in 4S, Turbo, and Turbo S flavours. It’s unclear at this moment whether Audi’s stylish zero-emissions saloon will carry over the technical specs of its Stuttgart sibling, which offers 523 bhp, 670 bhp, and 751 bhp, respectively.
As a reminder, the concept was developed with a dual-motor, all-wheel-drive setup and a 96-kWh battery. It offered 582 bhp for a 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in three and a half seconds and a 0-124 mph (0-200 km/h) in a little over 12 seconds before maxing out at an electronically capped 149 mph (240 km/h). It did over 400 kilometres (248.5 miles) between charges per WLTP and needed roughly 20 minutes to recharge its battery pack to 80%, enough for over 320 km (198.8 miles) of range.
According to the same report, Audi is planning to introduce the S version from day one, with the range-topping RS to arrive at a later date. The Four Rings is expected to unveil the production-ready E-Tron GT in the second half of November at the 2020 Los Angeles Auto Show, so the spicy RS model is unlikely to debut until towards the end of 2021 / early 2022.
Audi Sport is also allegedly working on the revival of its ill-fated R8 E-Tron. The original version unveiled in 2009 as a concept never made it to the assembly line, while the second-generation model launched in 2015 was phased out within two years due to poor demand largely caused by the exorbitant price tag of about £850,000. During its 16-month run, the R8 E-Tron only generated about 100 sales.
Audi's EV portfolio:
- Audi E-Tron gets an extra 15.5 miles of range in Europe
- Audi E-Tron Sportback debuts smooth shape and sci-fi headlights
- Audi E-Tron GT production model to debut at 2020 L.A. show
- Audi Q2 E-Tron spied testing electric powertrain in the snow
Much like its predecessor, the new R8 E-Tron is set to be a limited-run model and boast similar styling, although logic tells us the design will be derived from the facelifted version of Audi’s naturally aspirated V10 supercar. Thanks to advancements made in EV tech, chances are the specs will be improved compared to the 2015 car, which had dual motors producing 456 bhp and 679 lb-ft (921 Nm) of torque, along with a 92-kWh battery good for 280 miles (450 kilometres).
Audi Sport won’t be ignoring the SUVs as the E-Tron and its more stylish E-Tron Sportback sibling are set to receive both the S and RS treatment. Further down the line, the R8 could be replaced altogether by an electric supercar, while several plug-in hybrids are on the agenda to prepare Audi’s performance division for the electric era.