The Audi R8 is perhaps one of the most recognisable sports cars in the world, perhaps thanks to its insistence of sticking to its own signature formula (even though there’s now a RWD variant). But as with most things in life, you can only hold on to your beliefs for so long before reality catches up to you – and for the R8, the reality is that the industry is moving towards electric power, and there’s no running from it any more.
In a recent interview, Audi Sport’s head of product marketing, Linda Kurz confirmed to CNET that the ‘R’ brand will also be transitioning to all electric power, in line with the company’s overarching strategy moving forward.
Kurz said that Audi Sport’s “next challenge” will be to “transform the R segment” into a fully electric brand. “This is our job the next decade” she added. Although, to be clear, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to be a next-generation R8.
Basically, whatever that’s in the pipeline to replace Audi Sport’s halo car (which is the R8 for now) is going to be a fully-electric model, whether it’s called an R8 or not.
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The electrification works will start happening pretty quickly, according to Kurz. Aside from the ‘R’-badged cars, models under the RS segment will also be leaning heavily into electrification, too. By 2026, 80% of the RS line-up will feature some sort of electrification, which also includes fully-electric RS models.
A recent report from Auto Bild in Germany claims that the R8 will survive into a third-generation, and will ditch the current model’s naturally-aspirated V10 engine for a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8, similar to what’s currently used in the Lamborghini Urus and other VW Group models.
The report also claims that the third-generation Audi R8 could feature some form of hybridisation, and will deliver around the region of 700 hp. Even an electric version of the Audi R8 isn’t out of the question, apparently, which lines up with Kurz’ statement.
For now, the second-generation Audi R8 will soldier on with the sole “V10 Performance” variant on both rear-wheel drive and Quattro models, which stretches the output of both models up to 570 hp and 550 Nm.