German carmaker Audi has been rather undecided about what to do with its R8 supercar. After earlier reports said that Ingolstadt had decided to retire it, new reports are emerging saying that the R8 won’t be axed after all. Instead, it’ll undergo an electrifying reinvention in a bid to capture (some of) the electric supercar market, or at least that’s what they’re saying.
The Audi R8 arrived with a bang when it first landed in 2006, landing a spot in the garage of many who wanted a supercar they could genuinely live with day to day but didn’t want a Porsche 911. Its supercar status was cemented in pop culture when it became the ride of choice for Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man, though arguably by that point, the R8 had already won fans across the globe.
If indeed the R8 returns in 2022 as a fully-electric supercar, it won’t be the first time we’ve seen a battery-powered version of the car: The Audi R8 was briefly available as an R8 e-tron in its lifetime, and that will likely be the moniker it’ll adopt when it goes to market. But when it returns, expect it to bear design traits & hallmarks first shown in the recent Audi PB18 e-tron, a highlight at the recent Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
The Audi PB18 e-tron concept car made quite the entrance in Monterey, with its shooting brake-cum-hatchback roofline, extreme aerodynamic concessions, and unique ‘movable’ drivers’ seat system. But with a total output of up to 570kW, the PB18 e-tron is not all looks and no go. In fact, Audi themselves said that the PB18 should be able to reach 100km/h from rest in “scarcely more than 2-seconds,” while its top speed was said to be in excess of 300km/h, according to Autocar.
Audi has plans to sell some 800,000 ‘electrified’ models across the globe by 2025, representing a share in excess of 30% of its annual sales figures. The R8 e-tron could prove to be quite a hit in markets with strict emissions regulations like China.