Audi's electric-vehicle strategy currently relies on the launch of new nameplates, the most recent of which is the Q4 E-Tron. However, the automaker will eventually introduce electric versions of existing nameplates, and the next A4 due around 2023 may be the first avenue.
Citing anonymous sources, Autocar reported on Monday that Audi's next A4 will be topped by two electrified models, one of which will be a battery-electric model. The other is reported to be a plug-in hybrid RS 4. Interestingly, the pure electric model is also reported to be coming with an RS badge. There will also be non-RS electric A4s, according to Autocar's sources.
The electric A4s, including the RS version, will most likely ride on Volkswagen Group's new PPE dedicated EV platform that will arrive next year in an Audi Q6 E-Tron related to the Porsche Macan EV recently spotted testing. It's possible they feature slightly different styling to the non-electric A4s, along with a unique fastback body like the current A5 Sportback, something that was hinted in April with the A6 E-Tron concept, an electric fastback that previews an electric A6 due in 2023.
Audi A6 E-Tron Concept - 2021 Shanghai auto show
Future A4 variants with an internal-combustion engine will rely on an updated version of the current A4's MLB platform. Expect electrification across the range, with lower-run models to rely on mild-hybrid technology.
As for the plug-in hybrid RS 4, this will reportedly pair the current RS 4's 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 with an electric drive system. The current RS 4 delivers 444 hp but the next one should have substantially more power, considering that Mercedes-Benz AMG's upcoming plug-in hybrid C63 is expected to deliver up to 643 hp.
Let's hope Audi reverses its silly decision to build the RS 4 as a wagon only, so that we may finally see it return to the United States in sedan form. We'd be equally happy if Audi sticks to the wagon body only for the next RS 4 but offers it locally, like the automaker does with the larger RS 6 wagon. Stay tuned.