Audi Sport is known for creating high performance versions of some Audi vehicles, with a focus on higher levels of sportiness. So far, its high-performance creations are all powered by conventional engines. But with Audi in the process of releasing three electric vehicles by the end of the decade and electrifying its fleet, Audi Sport is following suit by introducing electrified high performance cars starting 2020.
Plans to introduce electrified performance cars were confirmed by no other than the outgoing chief executive officer of Audi Sport, Stephan Winkelmann, during the launch of the new Audi RS4. Winkelmann, who used to be the top honcho of Lamborghini, is leaving Audi’s high-performance arm to become the CEO of Bugatti. Audi, Bugatti and Lamborghini are part of the Volkswagen Group, which recently launched the Roadmap E program that calls for the creation of 80 new EVs – spread among group brands – by 2025.
According to Winkelmann, Audi Sport is planning to create more high-performance models derived from Audi’s sport utility vehicles. As such, there is a great chance that SUVs would be Audi Sport’s first EVs, to be followed by other vehicles. All of these new electrified vehicles will allow Audi Sport to be more revolutionary and less evolutionary, Winkelmann remarked.
Winkelmann disclosed that the timeline for the introduction of Audi Sport’s battery EVs will commence by the end of 2020, to be followed by more electrified high performance models during the decade. While SUVs are almost shoo-ins, the next high performance Audi Sport models would be those in a growing vehicle or body segments. He noted that Audi Sport will be building cars that would have global visibility, which means they should also appeal to customers in Asia and the Americas.
While Audi Sport has its eyes set on electric vehicles, it doesn’t mean that the high-performance division is giving up or replacing its traditional line-up powered by conventional engines. Winkelmann also said that Audi Sport is not forgetting its icons and is still bent on producing high-performance conventional units. He noted that Audi Sport’s new models in 2018, 2019 and 2020 will be powered by turbo engines, which he describes as the division’s pride.
As for the parent, Audi is planning to launch three EVs by 2020 and then electrify its entire lineup. The first of these EVs will be an all-electric e-tron large SUV in 2018 that will compete directly against the Tesla Model X, as revealed by Audi Chief Strategy Officer Roland Villinger in July.
The electric large SUV will be followed by an e-tron Sportback electric SUV in 2019. The third sports EV will be launched in 2020, although Villinger didn’t divulge its body style. This third model will then start the electrification of Audi’s entire Audi vehicle series, including hybrid models.