Audi’s next all-electric RS model has been spied testing on public roads.
The Audi RS6 e-tron will come after the brand’s first electric sedan, the A6 e-tron, and will bolster the electric RS range already established by the RS e-tron GT.
While previous spy shots were believed to be of S6 mules, the wider tracks and enlarged brakes all but confirm these spy shots depict the next full-fat RS model, rather than a S6 prototype.
From the front it’s clear the RS6 will continue to feature new split-level headlights, although this tester differs from the original A6 e-tron concept car.
It’s likely the camouflage wrap on this RS6 prototype is obscuring some aerodynamic elements, as the general features of the front bumper are similar to previous spy shots of what are now believed to be S6 prototypes.
What is noticeably different on this prototype however, is the widened tracks and wheel arches. The lower front bumper now finishes abruptly as pumped arches house wider front wheels.
Behind these front wheels sit large, cross-drilled brake rotors gripped by substantial mono-block brake callipers.
Moving further rearward, there appears to be more aggressively creased body panels along the lower surface of the car.
Interestingly, this prototype is wearing different wheel designs front to back – unlike in previous spy shots. This indicates the RS6 could feature wider tracks in addition to a staggered footprint, where the S6 may retain the same wheel size all-around.
Muscular rear haunches encase wheels that appear to be wearing Michelin rubber, however this does not mean the final product will continue to wear those tyres.
An aggressively styled rear bumper complete with a pronounced rear diffuser completes the rear fascia.
If this is a prototype for the upcoming Audi RS6 e-tron, it will be the first time an RS6 has been available in a non-wagon body shape for over 10 years. An RS6 e-tron wagon is expected to launch after the RS6 e-tron sedan.
Unlike the BMW M5 and Mercedes-AMG E63, the RS6 has been wagon-only since the second-generation model went out of production in 2011.
The core A6 e-tron range, including the Avant wagon, will launch in 2024 per a report from Autocar.
It’s expected the Audi RS6 e-tron will be available in both liftback and Avant wagon body styles, like the regular A6 e-tron.
The electric sedan and wagon range will arrive shortly after the Q6 e-tron crossover, with which it will share the new Premium Platform Electric co-developed by Audi and Porsche. PPE also underpins the upcoming Porsche Macan EV.
Using the Porsche Macan EV as a guide, the RS6 e-tron could produce up to 450kW of power and 1000Nm of torque.
For reference, the current Audi RS6 pumps out 441kW and 800Nm from its twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engine, while the RS e-tron GT produces 440kW of power and 830Nm of torque from its dual-motor all-wheel drive powertrain. This is good for a 0-100km/h sprint time of 3.3 seconds.
The core A6 e-tron range will be offered with a choice of single-motor rear-wheel drive and dual-motor all-wheel drive powertrains.
The concept sedan used a 100kWh lithium-ion battery with a claimed range of 700km on the stricter WLTP standard, 800V technology, and 270kW of charging capacity.
The Avant concept also used a 100kWh battery, along with a dual-motor AWD powertrain with 350kW of power and 800Nm of torque.
Audi is expected to transition more of its S- and RS-branded performance vehicles to electric powertrains as it plans to roll out at least 20 electric vehicles (EVs) by 2025 and launch its final new internal-combustion engine vehicle (ICE) by the same year.
The brand has committed to being all-electric by 2033 in every market except China, with the European Union locking in new regulations that will ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars, SUVs, and light commercial vehicles from 2035.