Although it appeared Audi had ditched plans for a new generation of the R8 after sales of the current model proved relatively disappointing, it seems the end isn’t nigh for the R8 after all.
Instead, the Audi supercar is going to be completely reinvented as an all-electric, all-wheel drive hypercar with stunning performance courtesy of an electric powertrain with somewhere close to 745 kW.
Autocar in the UK is reporting that a complete reinvention of the R8 as an all-electric supercar is planned for 2022, but the bad news for some enthusiasts is the move will also signal the end of the German automaker’s love affair with V-10 petrol engines.
While V-10s are incredibly potent and much-loved by many, they face what appear to be two unstoppable and consequently inevitable trends: the continuing rise of electric power and the end of the big, brash, high-revving, and undeniably polluting naturally aspirated engines without a contribution from at least some sort of electric motor.
It’s not just V-10s becoming an endangered species either, as V-8 engines are also in decline in Europe as models like the latest RS4 and RS5s are increasingly moving towards smaller displacement V-6 turbos instead.
Audi still employs V-8 power in the A6, A7 and A8 ranges at the moment, as well as in the mighty SQ7 SUV, but surely its days are numbered there too?
We did see the change coming with the R8 though, with the limited-production run e-tron version back in 2015.
That was Audi’s first foray into the realms of the electrified performance car, but the new model will go the whole way and move beyond hybrid power to full-blown all-electric propulsion.
Further inspiration will inevitably also be taken from the PB e-tron concept recently revealed at last month’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California.
That one is a 569 kW EV beast with a theoretical top speed of more than 296 km/h and a 0-100 km/h time of what Audi describes as “scarcely more than two seconds,” but which also boasts a shooting brake-like rear end design making it more practical than the current R8.
Audi wants to position itself as a genuine leader in the electric car market, and has plans in place to sell 800,000 electrified vehicles by the year 2025.
Those plans will obviously include some much more affordable and more practical models than a third-generation, all-electric R8, but it’s the R8 everyone will be wanting to hear about most.