Whilst admitting that the RS4 in its current V8 form has been a great success story for Audi’s performance arm, Quattro GmbH, the company’s boss, Heinz Hollerwerger, told the Australian media in Germany this week that the next generation “need not” be a V8.
“Not necessarily.” Hollerwerger said when asked if the next-generation Audi RS4 would carry a V8 engine. “I think there are nice six-cylinder engines with high power [that could be put in its place].”
The move away from V8s would not be surprising as European emission laws become consistently more strict, with new vehicles required to emit below 100g of CO2 per kilometre by 2020 (fleet average).
The current Audi RS4 model, which has been around since 2012, is powered by a 4.2-litre naturally aspirated V8 that pumps out a very healthy 331kW of power and 430Nm of torque but emits 239g/CO2 per km.
BMW’s previous generation M3 was powered by a similarly appeasing 4.0-litre naturally aspirated V8 with 309kW and 400Nm, but was replaced with a 3.0-litre six-cylinder twin-turbo engine with 317kW and a massive 550Nm when the new model launched this year.
The good news, however, is that Audi is also considering an RS4 sedan and is likely to better streamline its RS model development cycle so that the next-generation RS4 would be released far earlier in the new A4’s lifecycle than in the past.
“What we intend to do is, that in previous times the RS models usually have been in end of life cycles in the normal models to keep the production constant, but we are now thinking about bringing the RS models much earlier to have a longer life cycle and larger number of sales.”
The engine transplant for the RS4 would leave the RS6 as the entry point for a V8s in the RS performance lineup. The company has already confirmed that the next-generation Audi R8 will carry a V10 engine.