New Audi RS5 Avant to debut in 2025

Audi RS4 Avant Competition Plus used for representation only.

The new Audi RS5 Avant is due in 2025 as a fearsome sports estate that will kick off a move into electrification by the Audi Sport performance division. The first plug-in hybrid from Audi Sport will be a successor to today’s pure-V6 RS4, but takes a new name in line with Audi’s plan to assign odd numbers to combustion cars and even ones to EVs. The equivalent electric model, badged RS4 e-tron, is expected to arrive by 2026.

  1. New RS Avant to get 2.9-litre V6 engine combined with 14.4kWh battery
  2. Rivals the Mercedes-AMG C 63 and BMW M5
  3. Audi Sport to venture into electrification through hybrids

New Audi RS5 Avant: powertrain, platform

While it gets a new name and a new look inside and out, Audi’s fast family estate is set to keep its 2.9-litre V6, but with the addition of an electric motor boosting output beyond the 450hp and 600Nm of today’s version. The next-generation A5 will continue to use the Volkswagen Group’s MLB platform.

However, it will be modified to allow plug-in hybrid versions to accommodate a larger, 14.4kWh battery, which gives the current A6 PHEV an electric range of 72km.

Notably, the Mercedes-AMG C 63 – one of the RS5’s closest rivals – has also made the switch to a plug-in hybrid powertrain and now produces a colossal 680hp and 1020Nm to match the outright pace of its V8-engined forebear.

The move to a PHEV powertrain for one of Audi Sport’s core models is part of a strategy by the performance division to ease the transition to electric powertrains towards 2035 and retain existing customers. Rolf Michl, managing director of Audi Sport, told our sister publication Autocar UK, “Even Audi Sport is electrifying, and up to there, we are thinking about and discussing plug-in hybrids.

“I wouldn’t focus on details of the engine concept but focus on the fact that the DNA of an RS model is always reflected, which means that you have everyday versatility and sheer driving performance.”

Currently, the only hybrids offered by Audi are the TFSIe versions of the A3, A6, A8, Q5, Q7 and Q8. In its most potent guise, Audi’s TFSIe set-up mates a 3.0-litre petrol turbocharged V6 to an electric motor for a total of 462hp and a muscular 700Nm of torque.

No existing hot S or RS cars are offered in plug-in hybrid guise. Michl acknowledged that the transition to electric power is a “step-by-step” process because the company does “not want to lose customers”. He admitted that he was “amazed” by the progression of the technology, which is expected to be fundamental for the brand over the next few years “as acceleration and dynamics play a more important role”.

BMW will provide a rival in the form of the next-generation M5, which will also use a plug-in hybrid powertrain and offer an estate body for the first time since 2007.

The MLB platform that underpins the newly renamed A5 and A7 model lines has been upgraded in recent Audi models to include a new electric architecture with 48V capability.

This enables the adoption of additional functions such as the rear wheel steering system used by the A6, A7, A8, Q7 and Q8, as well as new Level 2 autonomous driving functions currently being developed by Audi’s Car.Software division.

We understand the new A5 will run an updated version of the current model’s aluminium-intensive multi-link front and rear suspension, with adaptive damping on selected models.

Earlier speculation suggested that the next A5 would receive rear air springs, but these may be reserved exclusively for the electric A4 e-tron.

Audi RS5 Avant: exterior, dimensions

The first prototypes spotted in public reveal that Audi Sport’s maiden PHEV will make its performance billing evident, with heavily flared arches and huge, five-spoke sports wheels covering large-diameter drilled brake discs.

There is also a prominent air outlet behind the front wheel arches, and the front end looks to have been sculpted with an eye on optimising engine cooling and airflow. Sedan and Avant estate body styles will be offered for the standard A5 and each is unlikely to grow in size compared with the current A4. For reference, the existing model is 4,772mm long, 1,847mm wide and 1,435mm tall.

Only the estate has been spotted testing in full-bore RS guise so far and it is not yet confirmed if Audi plans to offer a sedan version, as Mercedes-AMG does with the C 63. Despite its slower shift to an EV line-up, Michl told Autocar UK that Audi Sport will be able to keep pace with Audi’s wider electrification programme. “We are acting very synergistically,” he said.

Audi Sport to go hybrid 

“We have technology synergy with [parent company] Audi AG, so the main decision we have to take is which model has to be approached in what kind of way.”

When asked if the brand is concerned about its customers’ immediate reaction to going electric, Michl said: “I think there’s also a path together with the customers. We’re looking car by car and we clearly have a close view to the usage profile.”

Giving an example, he said: “The RS4 and RS6 are everyday cars used for longer distances, so probably the path [to electrification] is not [an abrupt] one. We will go for hybridisation and you will see that people will say that they are happy about the additional value for it being electrified.”

It is unclear which powertrain Audi will use to replace the mild-hybrid V8 in the current RS6, but with a new A6 – rebadged as A7 – on the way and the limited-run RS6 GT revealed as a celebratory run-out version of the 630hp family wagon, a plug-in hybrid successor is not expected to be far away.

New Audi RS5 Avant: India details

While there’s no word on the new RS5 coming to India, the brand does have the current model on sale, in Sportback four-door coupe form, at Rs 1.13 crore (ex-showroom, India). The pre-facelift second-generation model, which had launched in 2018, was only available in two-door coupe guise. 

Also see:

2021 Audi RS5 Sportback review

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