Audi is rumored to be ditching the R8’s old V10 engine in favor of an electric powertrain with even more power.
The R8 is on its way out. Sales have been steadily dropping since the 2015 redesign, and Audi believes that the car just isn’t worth saving. At least, not in its current internal combustion engine form.
According to a new report from British car site Autocar, Audi still has plans for their flagship sports car--they just don’t involve gasoline. Instead, Audi plans to replace the current V10 and V8 engine-powered vehicles in favor of something completely battery powered.
Of course, this won’t be the first electric R8 we’ve ever seen. Audi came out with a limited run of the E-Tron R8 back in 2015 to middling applause, but it seems unlikely that Audi will use the E-Tron as the basis for a next-gen electric R8. Instead, Autocar expects the German carmaker to use the PB18 e-tron concept as the basis for their evolved electric supercar.
Named after and revealed at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the PB18 came with three electric motors producing a combined 764 hp. Zero to sixty is estimated to be accomplished in the low 2-second range, while top speed is a respectable 186 mph.
An R8 version based on the PB18 e-tron won’t necessarily have the same performance, but it’s expected to be close. It’ll retain its AWD drivetrain (although electrically powered this time) and produce close to 1,000 hp through a combination of electric motors. Zero to sixty for the electric R8 is expected to be 2-seconds flat.
Electric cars are expected to be a big market for Audi, thanks to ever-growing Chinese demand and ever-stricter emissions regulations in Europe. Audi expects to sell 800,000 electric cars annually by 2025, which would be a third of all sales globally.
As for the electric R8, we’re still going to have to wait for the current R8 to finish its lifespan before we see a new car. Probably around 2022, but don’t hold your breath.