Could this be what’s needed to keep the venerable model alive?
German carmaker Audi might’ve birthed an icon when it revealed the R8 ever so long ago, but as time has gone by, the hallowed space that Ingolstadt’s supercar occupied got more and more crowded with competition, which has led to rumours that the car will die with this generation.
It’ll be a sad day when the last R8 rolls off the production line. Its technical competence and near-perfect balance of character meant that it was, for the first time in decades, an approachable supercar. One that wouldn’t bite your head off if you carry too much speed into a corner, or explode in a cloud of smoke if you service it three-and-a-half-seconds late. It remains one of very few supercars you could drive daily and not end the week feeling in need of a chiropractor.
Before it goes though, Audi has some rather interesting plans for the R8, starting first with a new engine. According to UK publication Autocar, it seems that a facelifted version of the current R8 will arrive with a new 2.9-litre biturbo V6 mill, indirectly replacing the V8 power plant that met its end during the transition from first- to second-generation. The new powerplant, developed in collaboration with Porsche, likely appeal greatly in markets where road tax is dependent on engine size, like in China.
The V6 mill is presently available in the Porsche Panamera 4S, where with the help of a small 0.4bar turbocharger, it puts out an impressive 324kW and 550Nm. Considering the relatively low boost pressure, it’s entirely within reason to assume that more power could be wrung from that engine just by turning up the pressure.
We hope that the new V6, in addition to new variants like the rear-wheel drive versions (dubbed RWS) will built up enough demand for the R8 to see the nameplate live on. Importantly, a new R8 V6 will be priced significantly lower than the current rear-drive R8 V10s, which could lead to stronger sales, which could in turn see Audi reconsider their idea of retiring the nameplate.