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Goodbye turbo lag: Audi bringing electric turbos to production

Audi has all but confirmed the potent diesel-electric mild hybrid drivetrain found under the hood of the experimental RS5 TDI Concept – pictured above – has been given the green light for production.

“[The drivetrain] is basically ready for production,” confirmed Sven Beechie, the development manager of Audi’s V6 TDI mill, in an interview with Australian website CarAdvice. “There is a good chance to see it in the future.  Wait and see, next year is a nice year,” hinted the engineer.

The centerpiece of the RS5 TDI Concept’s drivetrain is a 3.0-liter diesel-burning V6 engine that uses an innovative electric turbocharger to virtually eliminate turbo lag and improve efficiency. Drawing power from a compact lithium-ion battery pack, the electric turbo provides instantaneous boost at low rpm while two large traditional exhaust-driven turbos kick in at higher engine speeds to provide more high-end grunt.

In the RS5 TDI, the drivetrain generates 385 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, allowing the coupe to reach 62 mph from a stop in just four seconds. To put those figures into perspective, the regular-production gasoline-burning RS5 is powered by a naturally-aspirated 4.2-liter V8 engine that produces 450 ponies and 317 pound-feet of twist. The coupe takes 4.5 seconds to accelerate to 62 mph.

Audi has not revealed what model will have the honor of inaugurating its upcoming electric turbocharger, but the next-generation Q7 and the upcoming second-generation R8 are two likely candidates. Further down the line, the bulk of Audi’s larger models are expected to feature electric turbocharging technology.