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

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]

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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.

  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.
  • TitaniumZ Of course they are starting to "sour" on the idea. That's what happens when cars start to drive better than people. Humanpilots mostly suck and make bad decisions.
  • Inside Looking Out Why not buy Bronco and call it Defender? Who will notice?