According to inside sources, Audi’s set to launch the new RS 3 with combustion engine options removed in favor of the latest EV technology.
Audi’s S and RS cars are well-loved for their outstanding performance and iconic soundtrack. Certainly, the RS 3 continues Audi’s tradition of fielding outstanding 5-cylinder engines. But whether we like it or not, EVs represent the cutting-edge of this coming generation. So it comes as little surprise that Audi’s electric lineup takes center-stage for these future vehicles. With Volkswagen’s own (at times infamous) decades-long quest for efficiency and renewable energy, the next-generation A3 and RS 3 combine the best of these lessons into a single, dedicated EV platform. Thankfully for the gearheads, these improvements also bring with them some eye-watering performance figures.
Even by RS 3 standards, this coming model’s gonna be fast. The instant torque these motors create will easily allow an RS 3 to top 60 in the mid-3’s and top 200 MPH. And speaking of range, that’s not too shabby, either. With the latest battery technology, we’re looking at over 400 miles in the A3, plus fast-charging and lighter weight. All told, Audi’s giving enthusiasts plenty of reasons to look forward to their line going electric. Even if it means sacrificing that beautiful 5-cylinder staccato.
And according to sources at Audi disclosing to Autocar Magazine, that’ll all be coming with the next-generation SSP-platform, a brand-new system developed just for EVs. For the A3 and RS 3, it seems that internal combustion is a thing of the past as they spearhead next-gen EV production. This lineup extends well past these ubiquitous models, too. Promoted with vehicles such as the Volkswagen ID.R, electric powertrains are set to dominate next-generation performance vehicles across the board. And Audi’s RS 3 looks to be the finest of these super-saloons to come.
A Truly Novel Approach to EV Design
The next-generation platform architecture supports a number of key improvements. People tend to ask two main questions when buying an EV. How far does it go and how long does it take to charge? The MEB platform, introduced with the ID.3, marked an important first step toward solving these fundamental issues. And with the next evolution of the sister MQB-platform, the A3 hopes to incorporate the best of both worlds, plus more. The most impressive leap comes from the motor itself. VW’s current-gen electric motor is the APP 310 400V brushless, producing a modest ~200 horsepower and around 300 miles of range. However, the next-generation motor reportedly doubles output to 800V, with a range well in excess of 400 miles. All this coupled with the latest battery technology leads to a far more efficient, streamlined charging system.
Volkswagen’s developing a new platform, called the Scalable Systems Platform (SSP), specifically around this new power unit. Concerning Audi, this platform marks several massive departures for the A3 model. Aside from the obvious electric drivetrain, Audi complements this innovation with a new drive and running gear. The next-generation A3 boasts rear-wheel-drive and optional Quattro, a first for the FWD-standard model. Much like the current model, the new A3’s set to debut in a 4-door saloon or 5-door hatch configuration. But dimensionally the newest model’s likely to marginally expand, thanks in part to the latest running gear developed for a next-generation MEB-platform. However, Volkswagen officially canceled further development of this platform in favor of the SSP. After such a short service life, the SSP must be something special to pour all that money into a brand-new venture.
The SSP-Platform Details and More
The SSP-platform coincides with Audi CEO Markus Duesmann’s stated mid-term goals. That is, that all new Audi models will feature all-electric powertrains by the 2026 model year. To this end, Volkswagen designed the platform to accommodate a host of body styles, similar to their ubiquitous A-platform and its derivatives. The main centerpiece, as stated, is the brand-new 800V electric architecture. According to inside sources, the claimed range tops out at approximately 435 miles and accepts 80 miles of charge in 10 minutes. As for power, Audi released no official figures as of yet. But we can speculate more based on the next model-year’s statistics.
The 2023 A3 E-Tron, the first facelifted model of this generation, already contains some of this tech. For example, the 2023 E-Tron uses an all-new battery pack for an already impressive 373-mile reported range. So if what’s just around the corner is any indication, the next-gen A3 looks to set a new gold standard for electric saloons. And Audi set their sights even higher than just the SSP. Their new PPE-platform, set to debut at about the same time, brings the big guns. Alongside the next-generation Q-series, this platform hosts what Audi calls a “private jet for the road.” Beginning with the 2021 Grandsphere concept, we may see the next-generation full-size returning to its grand touring-inspired roots.
All in all, at first glance, some motorheads may groan at the thought of replacing those glorious V8s and V10s. But reading in between the lines a bit, this truly appears to represent the next step in automotive luxury bliss. Appropriate, then, that Audi’s not messing around. Between multiple dedicated new platforms and a next-generation powertrain, Audi is set to take motoring by storm in 2026.