What does the future hold?
The second-generation Audi R8 has been around since 2015 and received an extensive facelift in 2018. Typically, a facelift comes during a vehicle's midlife production cycle but in the case of the R8, it appears there could possibly be another update at some point before a successor arrives. Why? Because Audi Sport intends to keep the R8 around for a while, despite disappointing sales last year. Autocar reports that Audi Sport Managing Director, Julius Seebach, not only refuses to confirm whether or not the next-generation R8 will go all-electric but also any sort of end date for the current model.
In fact, the second-gen R8 still has plenty of work left to do. Although it's a niche model within the lineup, it remains both a financial and track success in the world of customer GT3 racing.
The R8 GT3 customer race car is the most commercially successful GT3 car right now and it wouldn't be wise for Audi Sport to fix something that isn't broken. Building only the R8 GT3 but not the R8 road car is not possible. So, in a way, the GT3 car's success is forcing Audi Sport to rethink what else can be done with the R8; there's no immediate rush to completely redesign it. There's already the R8 RWD aimed at a certain type of enthusiast, so now it's time to consider all kinds of interesting possibilities. For example, is a hybrid powertrain an option?
Perhaps, and here's why: the R8 e-Tron, also launched in 2015, was an all-electric version available only in Europe. Less than 100 examples were built. It came powered by a pair of electric motors mounted on the rear wheels for a total output of 456 hp and 678 lb-ft of torque.
The point being is that the R8's platform can accommodate full electrification, so can this be scaled down to a hybrid system combined with the 5.2-liter V10? If the V10 is too big (not to mention too heavy), then perhaps the twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 from the Audi RS6 Avant could be considered. Also don't rule out further downsizing by way of the 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 from the RS5 Coupe - not the first time the R8 has shared the RS5's engine - though this would be a more radical choice. In any case, Seebach has made it clear all options remain open for the current R8.