Audi's Chief Technical Officer Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg has hinted that the next-generation RS 4 could recieve a motorsport-derived electric turbocharger, and virtually confirmed that the high-performance midsizer will downsize from the current V8 to a V6.
Asked by British mag Auto Express whether the next RS 4 would be able to equal the Mercedes-AMG C63's 375kW power output, Hackenburg replied in the negative, because "that car has eight cylinders".
Ergo, the next RS 4 won't have a bent-eight. Verzeihung.
To offset the reduction in capacity (a 3.0 litre V6 is the hot tip for the next RS 4), an electrically-assisted turbocharger may be employed by Audi.
Essentially combining the attributes of a turbo and a supercharger, it would boost output without introducing turbo lag. Spun up electrically at low rpm, they'd provide peak boost almost instantly. From mid-rpm upwards, they'd function like a normal turbocharger.
Hackenburg says electric turbo technology would be perfect for the brand's high-performance RS range of products by providing instant boost. However, he stopped short of saying when - or even if - Audi would begin rolling out the technology.
What's more readily apparent though, is that the next RS 4's arrival won't take as long as it has in previous generations.
According to Horst Glaser, Audi's head of chassis development, the next RS 4 may debut within a year of the regular A4's (above) motorshow debut at Frankfurt this September.
To put that in perspective, the current-generatoin RS 4 didn't arrive until four years after its cooking-model counterpart went on sale.
And while the current model has only been available as a cargo-friendly five-door Avant, the new RS 4 will once again be available in both sedan and wagon bodystyles - a concession to the Chinese and US markets, where sedan sales greatly outnumber wagons.
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