The next-generation BMW M5 isn’t going to be an EV. Instead, it’s going to be a plug-in hybrid and use the same hybrid V8 powertrain as the XM. That means a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 with an electric motor making upwards of 700 horsepower. However, it seems that Audi Sport is technologically leapfrogging BMW M, as the next-gen Audi RS6 is going to be an all-electric e-tron model.

Some recent spy photos confirmed that Audi is indeed working on a high-performance version of the A6 e-tron concept. Despite the test mule’s heavy camouflage, you can see that it uses the A6 e-tron’s body shape and styling but also has massive red brake calipers, huge discs, and a surprisingly low ride height. While Audi hasn’t confirmed anything just, the spy photos clearly show off a much spicier version of the A6 e-tron.

BMW M5 Hybrid lapping the Nurburgring | Photo by

Could it be just an Audi S6 instead of a proper RS6? Perhaps but Audi Sport execs have already admitted to electric high performance cars being in the works. Put two and two together and you get an electric Audi RS6 e-tron.

There’s no word on how much power it could make but expect any electric Audi RS6 e-tron to make around 650-700 horsepower, given that the current RS6 makes around 600 horses. With that much power, and all of its electric torque, the RS6 e-tron would likely be every bit as fast as the next-gen BMW M5 hybrid, even if the latter has more power. While Audi doesn’t have the best track record with EVs, especially in terms of curb weight, this new RS6 e-tron (and A6 e-tron) is built on a bespoke electric platform, the Volkswagen Group’s PPE architecture. So it should be lighter than Audi’s previous efforts, while also being high-tech and better packaged.

To combat such a thing, BMW is going to need the next-gen M5 to be excellent and, more importantly, thrilling. If its twin-turbo V8 doesn’t provide the excitement or charisma that it should, some customers might just prefer the smoother, quieter, more instant power delivery of an electric RS6.

This is going to be a very interesting time in the history of performance cars. It’s a transitional period in which some cars in the same segment, typically competitors, will have very different powertrains. Some will be purely ICE, some will be hybrid, and some will be EV. In the case of the BMW M5 and Audi RS6 e-tron, we’re likely going to see hybrid versus EV, while older cars like the Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing will still be ICE and who knows what Mercedes-AMG will do. One thing’s for certain, though, it’s going to be very fun to compare them all.