Audi R8 to Be Reborn As EV Hypercar by 2022: Report

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
audi r8 to be reborn as ev hypercar by 2022 report

Unverified industry rumors claim Audi has no intention of bringing back the R8 for a third generation. The problem is deeply rooted in stagnating sales and further exacerbated by tightening emissions standards and Volkswagen Group’s new role as an environmentally conscious manufacturer. However, new reports indicate the brand’s flagship supercar will see new life as a cutting-edge electronic menace. A real Max Headroom, if you’ll forgive the incredibly dated reference.

The R8 has already done some time as an EV. Back in 2015, the German brand launched an e-tron variant that swapped the model’s stellar V10 for an all-electric drivetrain. But the project was short lived. After years of teasing and endless production headaches, the million-dollar R8 e-tron quickly died. Audi pulled the plug after less than two years of production, leaving fewer than 100 examples to tend to its legacy.

While that might cast a rather long shadow on the new model, Audi is keeping electrification in mind from Day One this time around.

According to a report from Autocar, the brand intends to move forward on the new R8 as part of its drive to sell 800,000 electrified models by 2025. By offering a dominant and electrified performance vehicle, Audi could broaden the currently limited appeal of EVs by roping in enthusiasts. And the new R8 should be able to manage. The outlet claims the new R8 could boast as much as 1,000 bhp and launch itself to 62 mph (100 kph) in about 2 seconds.

These lofty claims have been verified by absolutely no one from the company, but the mere existence of Audi’s PB 18 e-tron shows that the brand is working on something. The tri-motored, all-wheel drive shooting brake certainly looks like a next-generation R8, showcasing what the automaker could do with loads of cash and the help of advanced technology. While the production model is unlikely to have the PB 18’s centering cockpit, it could adopt its Blade Runner-esque styling, unique storage solution, and electric powertrain.

There are, however, holes to poke in this plan. The Lamborghini Aventador and Huracán, the latter of which exists as the R8 sister car, are supposed to be replaced with plug-in hybrid models for their next incarnation. Lamborghini CEO Stefano Domenicali said this is being done to help meet rising emission standards and preserve the oversized internal combustion engines for another generation. The target date for both cars falls somewhere between 2020 and 2022, right around the time we’d expect to see the new R8.

That would seem to indicate that Audi would take a different approach than Lamborghini, which sounds like something Volkswagen Group would be against. Then again, there’s nothing stopping them from launching the new EV platform and sharing it with Lamborghini on some entirely new model. It might even be a good way to test the waters of EV acceptance, as the brand probably doesn’t want to take too many risks with its entry-level car.

[Images: Audi]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

Consumer advocate tracking industry trends, regulation, and the bitter-sweet nature of modern automotive tech. Research focused and gut driven.

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  • Mcs Mcs on Sep 07, 2018

    Porsche just recently bought 10% of Rimac, makers of the Concept 2 and the engineering firm behind the Koenigsegg Regera V-8 direct drive hybrid drivetrain. They also have nice parts like the two-speed drive on the Concept 2. I'd expect Rimac to have a hand in both the R8 and the hybrid Lambos. Since both VW and Audi are producing full EVs now, I doubt they'd bother with outdated ICE hybrid tech. Especially since the PB 18 was shown with prototype solid-state cells. Yeah, Lamborghini needs the motor sounds since they probably cater more to the poseur crowd (they're not looking - let's rev the engine so they know we're here). But Porsche and Audi are going to want the performance you get from a pure electric and as halo cars for their other EVs.

    • Sportyaccordy Sportyaccordy on Sep 07, 2018

      Enjoying the sound of an ICE = being a poser? Only enjoying "performance" (read: bench racing stats) = being a real enthusiast? Good to know.

  • SPPPP SPPPP on Sep 07, 2018

    Hmm, ok. So if this plan comes to fruition, VW will only have to sell another ... 799,500 EVs to hit that 2025 goal. Multiple choice: "By offering a dominant and electrified performance vehicle, Audi could ..." A. Get on a Motor Trend cover, B. Sell a few hundred vehicles at a loss, C. Prove they can beat Tesla (in lack of reliability), D. All of the above.

  • ToolGuy "Mr. President, no government agency, no think tank, and no polling firm knows more about the automobile customer than us. We talk to customers every day. As retail automotive dealerships, we are agnostic as to what we sell. Our business is to provide customers with vehicles that meet the needs of their budgets and lifestyles.”• How many lies can you fit into one paragraph?
  • Spamvw Three on the tree, even Generation X would have a hard time stealing one of those.
  • ToolGuy This trend of cyan wheels needs to end NOW.
  • Kwik_Shift Interesting nugget(s) of EV follies.
  • SaulTigh I've said it before and I'll say it again...if you really cared about the environment you'd be encouraging everyone to drive a standard hybrid. Mature and reliable technology that uses less resources yet can still be conveniently driven cross country and use existing infrastructure.These young people have no concept of how far we've come. Cars were dirty, stinking things when I was a kid. They've never been cleaner. You hardly ever see a car smoking out the tail pipe or smell it running rich these days, even the most clapped out 20 year old POS. Hybrids are even cleaner.