The iconic Audi R8 coupe will keep its spot on the Audi Sport roster, but expect a big shakeup in its makeup.
The second-generation Audi R8, which debuted in 2015, will be sold until 2023, after which its 5.2-litre naturally aspirated V10 petrol engine will be retired.
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The head of Audi Sport, Oliver Hoffmann, told WhichCar that the R8 nameplate would live on, but it would morph into a “super sports” car that uses a hybrid drivetrain.
“We are working on concepts with electrification and there's no decision yet which kind of power train we implement in our next super sport car,” he said. “There's no decision yet.”
He did confirm, though, that the V10 – shared with fellow VW Group brand Lamborghini – won’t be carried over.
“I don't think that we will develop a successor of the current model with just a fully initial aspirated engine or with a, let me say, normal combustion engine,” he said. “We will have electrification for the R8 in the future, but which kind of electrification, there is no decision yet.
"We are working very hard on the concept. We are in contact with our board, but there is no decision yet regarding the concept of the next R8.”
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The Audi Sport line-up is set to almost double over the next twelve months, with Hoffmann confirming revised versions of old favourites as well as alluding to new additions to the portfolio.
“In volume terms, we will have the biggest model launch ever in our history in the next year, so that means we will refresh the beginning of next year as RS4 and RS6,” he said.
“We will launch new models, RS6, RS7, and we will enter a completely new segment, the ‘power SUV’ segment in the model line. That means we will increase our sales numbers in the next years.”
Those SUVs are likely to include an RS Q3, as well as a hotted-up version of the largest SUV in the Audi fleet, the Q8.
Interestingly, Hoffmann said that the company’s most popular car, the mid-sized Q5 SUV, was not in line for an RS makeover.
“There's no decision regarding an RS Q5,” he said.
With a relatively new CEO at the helm, Hoffmann confirmed that he has been tasked to go after his across-town rivals, but with one eye firmly on the purse strings.
“For sure, at this time we are number three in terms of volume behind M and AMG, but we will close the gap in the next years, not only with new models for our icons, like the RS4, like the RS6, we will go in very, very new segments,” he said.
“We will launch our e-tron GT, a full electric car, end of 2020, and we will electrify all our models in the next years. I'm really looking forward to closing this gap in terms of volume and also the market share for M and AMG.
He confirmed, though, that the current R8, which was updated at the beginning of 2019, will not go quietly into the night.
“We will surprise you, for sure, with some special models of the R8 in the current life cycle,” he said.