Audi pledges its last combustion-powered cars are worth waiting for

Audi is pouring a tremendous amount of resources into the development of electric technology. It plans to launch an armada of EVs by the middle of the 2020s, but it’s not done improving the venerable internal combustion engine.

Oliver Hoffmann, the company’s board member for technical development, reaffirmed his goal of releasing 30 electrified vehicles (including 20 EVs and 10 plug-in hybrid models) by 2025. That’s also when the final Audi model powered by an internal combustion engine will make its debut, though production won’t end there; cars have long life cycles, and Audi will sell gasoline-burning cars until the early 2030s (though, as of writing, no later than 2033).

While electrified vehicles are hogging development dollars, Audi is still investing in the gasoline-powered engine.

“We have to put a lot of knowledge and money into the development of gasoline-burning engines because we have new regulations, especially in Europe, that will come into effect in the middle of the decade. We want to offer the best ICE cars we have ever built. We will achieve greater efficiency but also better performance,” he told Autoblog.

The regulations he referenced are called Euro 7, and many argue they’re an indirect way of banning the internal combustion engine across the pond. Audi rival Mercedes-Benz has already warned it will need to drop half of its engines to comply with the norms, and making small, affordable cars risks becoming economically unviable.

Hoffmann stopped short of revealing precisely what Audi has in store, or which segments it’s aiming for, but he added that electrification will play a role in keeping the internal combustion alive. “Electrification in ICE powertrains will increase to meet the regulations, but also to achieve greater performance. These cars will have a very clear Audi DNA in terms of acceleration, steering, and braking. Everything will clearly feel like an Audi,” he summed up.

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