At a time when electric supercars and even hypercars are multiplying on the market, Audi is thinking rather of a solution to keep the R8 in its catalog. Among them, several are possible, but the German firm has a plan!
Will she continue her career? Since its inception in 2006, the Audi R8 is an emblematic model of the brand with the rings. Now in their 13th year, as the second generation nears retirement, the future of the R8 seems blurred. Many hypotheses exist: a switch to electric, turbocharging, hybrid or abandonment. But no one knows which will be retained.
Some reports say the R8 will be replaced by an electric supercar which will have a different name while some believe that its future does not exist. Talking to Top Gear, Audi chief executive Oliver Hoffman spoke about the future of the R8 and what needs to be done to improve sales, which have plummeted in recent years. “There is no decision yet on the next generation R8 technology and platform. But with the next generation, we have to follow all the rules globally. ”, he specifies. Let us add that European standards are paramount.
But one thing is certain : “So it will be a car with a share of electrification. But the current model is the basic model for our customers and we must meet this demand in the future ”said Hoffman.
Hoffman's words seem to strongly suggest that whatever form it takes, there will be a third generation R8 and it will have a heat engine.
Audi sold only 574 copies of the R8 last year in the United States and around 1,200 cars in Europe. With the slowdown in sales, Audi has put more emphasis on selling racing cars : the R8 GT3 and GT4. “We work closely with people in motorsport on battery technology, electronics, power and so on. So for us, this is a good opportunity to get experience in the field of sport in order to bring it into our production cars, ”said Hoffman. “Our customers are increasingly demanding to have a share of electrification in their vehicle”, he concludes.
More powerful, more sold but cleaner
With electrification, Audi would be able to increase the power of these supercars while limiting CO2 emissions and thus avoiding penalties due to ecological standards. In addition, according to Hoffman, customer demand corresponds with obligations, which means that by electrifying their platform the solution would be found.
A hybrid R8 could be the best way to deliver more power while keeping the visceral sound and recognizable from the current generation of the Rings supercar. Only one problem remains: the weight. “This is the challenge for the next generation of RS models. We will electrify our portfolio. And weight management is the main challenge when we develop hybrid cars ”, said Hoffman.
But in terms of sound, Audi would be working to design a sound that would be emitted by the electrical part of the block. One of the ideas was to make it emit the same sound as the heat engine but according to the words of the executive of the German group, this idea would have been abandoned in favor of an electric sound just as synthetic but which does not seek to imitate the noises of a motorization fueled with petrol.
Note also that for all these declarations do not specify whether the thermal part will always be occupied by an atmospheric V10 (unlikely), a biturbo V10, or even a biturbo V8. Once again, business to follow …