It's the next step in the brand's evolution
The Audi R8 and its Italian cousin, the Lamborghini Huracan sound brilliant but are exceptionally rare in a way. Besides these two examples and the Ford Triton engine, V10s are all but dead. Mercedes also can't keep the V8 alive and is rumored to be considering a four-cylinder engine for cars like the C63. Audi will need to adapt to survive and has realized that electrification is the only way forward. A recent live stream saw top executives of thee German brand announce that various new plug-in models will be coming soon. On a separate occasion, Australian publication Motoring heard that a PHEV RS model could be imminent.
The brand's head of Product and Technology Communications, Ekkehard Kleindienst, was discussing these new hybrid models when he said "these are really born and bred RS models...coming with a plug-in hybrid powertrain." Sure, the RS6 Avant and its RS7 brother feature hybridization already, but with all niches of the auto industry looking to become cleaner, even the mighty R8 may soon feature electric assistance.
Not only would this reduce emissions but would almost certainly be used in a way that makes the potential hybrid R8 model even more explosive than it already is. While this is still some way off, we wouldn't be surprised to hear an announcement along these lines sometime next year.
Speculation about what sort of engine would accompany the electric system is pointless at this point, but we're crossing fingers that Audi finds a way to integrate a screaming V10, rather than a smaller engine like a V8 or worse. Perhaps the lessons learned and advances made in Audi's e-tron program will be great enough for the brand to keep beautifully noisy engines in its supercar for some time to come. Regardless of what the future holds, we're just glad that the V10 is still around, even if it's in its twilight years. If any brand can keep a relatively dirty engine on the market, it's one from Volkswagen AG.