The end of internal combustion engines is in sight for the many brands that make up the Volkswagen Auto Group, as its wholesale shift toward electric power is already underway, and some of the its most storied models will one day face the gallows. This eventuality no longer feels so far off, either, as Audi’s board chairman Markus Duesmann told German media that it’s already the beginning of the end for combustion engines at Audi.
“The EU plans for an even stricter Euro 7 emissions standard are a huge technical challenge and at the same time have little benefit for the environment. That extremely restricts the combustion engine,” Duesmann told Automobilwoche. “We will no longer develop a new internal combustion engine, but will adapt our existing internal combustion engines to new emission guidelines.”
Audi’s existing range of combustion engines encompass a wide range of configurations and displacements, from 1.0-liter three-cylinder gas engines to 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8s in gas and diesel flavors, to even the R8’s Lamborghini-rooted, 5.2-liter naturally aspirated V10. It’s impossible to forecast the order in which they’ll go extinct given how unpredictable the next two decades’ business, ecological, and legal environment will be, but it’s near certain the nameplates they power will die with them.
So far, Audi has adapted only one model name to its E-Tron line of electric vehicles, Q4, leaving relatively slow-selling sports cars like the TT and R8 to be superseded be a small, “emotive” sports EV. Before that arrives, the Q4 E-Tron will gain a coupe-over companion model called the Sportback, together marking the fourth and fifth Audi EVs after the E-Tron Quattro crossover, the Sportback derivative, and the E-Tron GT tourer.
Following them will be numerous, as-of-yet unspecified EVs, one of which could be a flagship sedan to replace the A8, as alluded to in 2019 by Audi’s then-CEO Bram Schot. Given the E-Tron GT’s mechanical relation to the Porsche Taycan, which is set to hike up its trousers in the form of the Taycan Cross Turismo, an E-Tron GT Allroad almost seems a certainty. Names like Allroad, Quattro, and RS may be all we can expect of the old Audi to survive in the electric era, should Audi itself even survive the coming post-peak car crunch.
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