German tuner ABT is well known for seriously spicing up Audis and Volkswagens, but the company’s latest project is special even by its own crazy standards. Not content with making the already fast Audi RS6 just a little bit faster, power-mad engineers at the firm took one of their own modified vehicles and injected it with electrical steroids to produce a completely bonkers cargo-carrier sporting 1,018 hybrid horses. If the Incredible Hulk had a company car, it would be the ABT RS6-E.
The world’s first hybrid Audi RS6 started its life as a 605hp stock vehicle before entering the ABT workshop in the southern Bavarian town of Kempten. There, the already potent people mover was fitted with the ABT Power R kit that increased the output of the 4.0-liter V8 internal-combustion engine to 730hp. And then ABT’s team of engineers decided to go where no Audi tuner had gone before by installing a 288hp electric motor in the transmission tunnel, which boosted the combined system output to a mind-blowing 1,018hp and 1,291Nm.
Because the car would literally tear itself apart if all that force were unleashed upon its drivetrain from a standstill, ABT decided to limit the use of the electrical system to speeds above 100km/h, when the driver can release hybrid hell by pressing the “Magic Button” (their words, not ours) on the steering wheel. This high-tech evolution of the old NOS trigger activates the electric motor and enables passengers to feel what riding a cannonball must be like. Currently, the use of the electric motor is limited to short bursts due to cooling issues that still need to be resolved, with the 13.6kWh battery installed at the rear being strong enough for around 20 consecutive electrical boosts. It also recharges itself through recuperation, meaning there should always be enough juice available to make other supercar drivers cry in disbelief.
Despite the base car already weighing over two tons and the hybrid setup adding another 200kg to the mix, the RS6-E manages to go from zero to 100km/h in a mere 3.3 seconds, with the top speed standing at 320km/h. Anyone wanting to go and buy this high-performance wagon will have to wait, though, as it is merely a prototype at the moment. ABT sees it as a research vehicle and an important step toward figuring out what car modification will be like in an electrified environment. So far, combing a powerful V8 with some electric zing seems to be a great recipe.
NOTE: All the power figures mentioned in this story should have probably been expressed as pferdestärke (ps), which is fractionally higher in numerical value compared to horsepower. But we’re using “hp” here to reflect how the figures are rendered on ABT’s official website (which expresses them as hp).