Every BMW fan should be excited about the next-generation Audi RS4 Avant (potentially called the RS5 Avant because historic names mean nothing anymore). Why would BMW fans be excited about an upcoming Audi? Because BMW finally offers an RS4 Avant competitor, in the BMW M3 Touring. However, by the time BMW finally released an M3 Touring, the RS4 Avant was already too old to keep up. So it will be very exciting to see how the long-roof M3 competes against a new RS4 Avant, especially one that has hybrid power.
According to recent reports, the next-gen Audi RS4 Avant will get a V6 plug-in hybrid powertrain, which will almost certainly make over 500 horsepower. The current RS4 makes about 450 horsepower, which just isn’t enough to compete with the 503 horsepower M3 Touring. So Audi is going to need at least 500 ponies to keep up. With hybridization, though, it will also get a much flatter torque curve than the M3 Touring, so it could be quite a bit faster off the line (which is honestly a frightening idea).
Unfortunately, it seems that the product life cycles for both cars aren’t ever going to lineup well enough for the two to properly compete. Once the hybrid RS4 debuts, the M3 Touring will already be half a generation behind. Admittedly, its performance is so shockingly good that it will likely still be competitive but it may lack in other areas, like cabin tech and efficiency. Compared to the hybrid RS4, the M3 Touring might seem like dinosaur, for better or worse.
That being said, the cycle will also flip. After the hybrid RS4 is out for a couple of years, BMW will likely be launching an all-electric M3, based on the Neue Klasse chassis 3 Series. The next-gen M3 is said to be the first purely electric M car, which could pack a quad-motor powertrain with upwards of 1,000 horsepower. While we were told that BMW’s quad-motor powertrain is technically capable of over 1,300 horsepower, battery voltage limitations and tuning are likely to keep the M3’s power well under that. But close to 1,000 horsepower could be a very real number for the next-gen M3.
Those two Bavarians won’t be the only dogs in this fight, though. The new Mercedes-AMG C63 is a plug-in hybrid with over 700 horsepower, which makes it a bit of a monster, despite weighing as much as a fully grown elephant. That will be the kicker, too. Once these hybrid performance cars start coming out, the key to their success, or demise, will be how well they manage their weight. Either way, though, I think we should all be excited about new performance wagons hitting the market, regardless of the brand or powertrain setup.