Audi has no plans to replace the R8 anytime soon—or ever.
The R8 has been Audi’s flagship car for well over a decade. Few cars can remain in such a prestigious place for so long without a radical redesign, but the R8 combined classic looks, outstanding performance, and reasonable (for a supercar) price.
But it’s getting old, and in an era where more and more carmakers are turning electric in order to meet ever more stringent emissions targets, it’s a car that is making less and less sense.
Speaking to Car and Driver magazine at last week’s Geneva Motor Show, Audi R&D boss Peter Mertens revealed that we may never see a new R8 simply because Audi’s R&D budget has been stretched very thin by the shifting paradigm of carmaking.
Audi will continue to make the usual assortment of internal combustion engine cars, but will also start making EVs and plug-in hybrids, and that has left precious few dollars to look at an R8 replacement.
“There will be very traditional combustion-engine high-performance vehicles, pure battery-electric vehicles on the high-performance side, and our sister brand Porsche also very much proves with their plug-in hybrids that the combination of both is a fantastic answer as well,” said Mertens.
Upon its release in 2006, the R8 was an amazing anomaly among supercars: it was understated, technically brilliant, and even cheaper than other European supercars of similar power. But as the decade wore on, cars from Koenigsegg, Pagani, and even Audi’s subsidiary Lamborghini began to outpace the R8.
Now the R8 sits in a strange position. If you have the money for an insane supercar, you’d opt for the newer and flashier Lamborghini Huracan. If you don’t have the money, the Audi TT RS will provide most of the performance and newer styling at a fraction of the price.
However, sales of the R8 have remained strong over the years, so while there’s no replacement in the works, Audi will certainly keep making the car so long as people keep buying them.
And who knows? Maybe one day Audi will change its mind. "Never say never; performance cars are good for Audi,” Mertens noted.