In the eyes of some traditionalists, the new Audi RS5 is already guilty of powertrain heresy. While the previous generation of the sports coupe came equipped with a high-revving, naturally-aspirated 4.2-liter V8 sourced from the widely-respected B7-generation RS4, the 2018 model year version of the RS5 goes with a 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6. And as if that weren't bad enough...as it turns out, the new RS5 is also a hybrid.
Or, to be more specific, a "micro hybrid," as it's described in a new Reuters report. The system, made by automotive supplier Valeo, isn't designed to provide power directly to the wheel; instead, it uses a starter-alternator to enable a more efficient version of the stop-start feature found in many new car models. (Most other new cars simply use a big starter motor to power their stop-start systems, which Reuters points out is less expensive, but also less efficient.) The RS5's start-stop can reportedly kick the car back to life in a fraction of a second—which, if correct, could help mitigate much of the hair-wrenching frustration that leads many of us to deactivate such systems the second we start our cars.
Audi reportedly has plans to begin transforming to an all-hybrid and electric lineup over the next few years, starting with the new A8 that formally arrives next month. That plan, however, involves turning many of its internal combustion models into mild hybrids that leverage the VW Group's new 48-volt electrical system, according to Automotive News. In the case of the 2018 Audi A8, that setup will add about 16 horsepower and 44 pound-feet of torque, and will enable the car to coast for up to 45 seconds with the engine off. The RS5's system isn't nearly as powerful...but if there's one thing this 444-horsepower super coupe isn't lacking, it's power.