Audi is currently developing its next-generation A4 compact sedan and thus is also preparing to introduce a high-performance ‘RS 4’ variant along with it. The current RS 4 utilizes the automaker’s naturally-aspirated 4.2-liter V8, however just like BMW did with the new M3/4, the new RS 4 will take an engine downsize to a twin-turbocharged six.
Audi’s Managing Director of Quattro, Heinz Hollerweger, told Motoring the new RS 4 “need not a V8,” and hinted the brand has some powerful V6 engines in the works for the car. The move is consistent with competing automakers, who are downsizing the engines of performance models in pursuit of fuel economy and compensating for the reduced performance with forced induction.
Motoring says the new forced-induction V6 could utilize Audi’s new electric turbocharger technology, which Audi technical boss Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg confirmed will arrive on the 2016 S Q7 SUV. Audi’s A4 is slated for a 2016 launch, so it seems possible the technology will be ready in time for the RS 4’s arrival. Audi hopes to reduce or completely eliminate turbo lag with the its electrically-assisted turbo, which uses an electric motor to spool the turbo faster rather than relying on exhaust gases alone.
The next-generation RS 4 could also be offered in a sedan bodystyle, Hollerweger said. The RS 4 and larger RS 6 are currently only offered as a wagon, but the next-gen cars could be sedans depending on which bodystyle Audi decides is “the most international.” That probably doesn’t mean the new RS 4 will be arriving in North America, but we’ll have our fingers crossed anyways.