Rumors about the R8’s demise have been circulating for a few months. And it seems they were true, as the company’s R&D boss just confirmed there are no plans for a replacement once this generation ends.
“I always get [my PR chief] very nervous when I start talking about that stuff. Never say never; performance cars are good for Audi,” Mertens added.
So there’s still a possibility for an R8 replacement. But it’s a slow seller and not doing much for the Audi corporate image.
We think the R8 could be among the Top 5 most important Audis of all time. It came out in 2006 when their sales were less than half of what they are today. Instantly, the four-ring badge became associated with V8 and V10 supercars that were well built and more reliable than their Italian counterparts.
But the world doesn’t need the R8 anymore. Last year, only 772 units sold in America. Audi now has to divide its development money between hybrids and electric vehicles while maintaining a fleet of traditional luxury vehicles with internal combustion engines.
Of course, even without the R8, Audi will have plenty of other performance cars but fitted with an exciting V10. It’s unclear when the current generation will be discontinued. Emissions regulations could be an even bigger problem than the somewhat awkward styling of the car. However, if the R8 sticks around for long enough, it could eventually receive an entry-level V6 engine, which is also mentioned in the article.
This would be the twin-turbo 2.9-liter TFSI unit that’s already gone into everything from the RS4 to the Porsche Cayenne and Panamera. It’s a direct replacement for the naturally-aspirated V8, and we don’t understand why it’s taking so long to find its way inside the mid-engined quattro supercar.