Will the next Audi RS 4 trade a deep-breathing V8 for a turbo V6?

When it comes to forbidden fruit, few things look juicier to U.S. car fans than the Audi RS 4. With a powerful V8 engine, all-wheel drive, and a wagon body, it doesn’t really get much better than this.

However, a new RS 4 is in the works, and there may be big changes in store.

Australia’s Motoring reports that the next RS 4 will ditch its 4.2-liter naturally-aspirated V8 for a turbocharged V6 – possibly using the electric turbo Audi plans to install in the upcoming SQ7 SUV.

Officials apparently don’t think a V8 is necessary and, looking at the 2015 BMW M3 and its turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six, that’s not an indefensible point, especially considering the need for better fuel economy amid tougher global emissions standards.

However, that didn’t prevent Mercedes-Benz from installing the AMG GT’s 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 in the new C63 AMG, while the 2015 Lexus RC F features a 5.0-liter, naturally aspirated V8.

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Audi hasn’t confirmed that the RS 4’s V8 will go away, indicating that the company doesn’t know exactly what it will do with its hot rod A4 yet.

In the context of stricter fuel-economy standards, a downsized engine seems more likely, but it would be premature to assume that it will be Audi’s choice just because it fits the narrative.

It’s also unclear whether the next RS 4 will be imported to the U.S., but it will at least arrive relatively soon.

Previous RS models were introduced at the end of product cycles, but demand has been so great that Audi is reportedly changing that policy.

A redesigned A4 is next year year, probably as a 2016 model, so perhaps we’ll see the new RS 4 a year or two after that.

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