The new RS e-tron GT is already faster than the V10 R8, so why not?
There are potentially crucial changes on the way at opposite ends of Audi's lineup in the near future. Last week, it was revealed that the tiny Audi A1 city car - not sold in North America - could be discontinued as other products from the Volkswagen Group in the same segment are proving to be extremely popular. However, a new A2 EV is reportedly in the works.
For the foreseeable future, though, the A3 Sedan remains the most affordable Audi in the US. However, one possibility that would affect US customers is the potential arrival of a new Audi R8 with an all-electric powertrain.
This new information was gleaned from a chat that Top Gear had with Markus Duesmann, Audi's boss who is also in charge of R&D. When asked if the third-generation R8 could morph into an electric car, he said: "That wasn't the original idea. But it could make sense. We could do it if we wanted to."
The idea is especially feasible when one considers that the R8 is already built on the same production line as the sleek new e-tron GT. According to Audi, the top-spec RS e-tron GT can hit 60 mph in 3.1 seconds, making it even faster than the V10-powered R8.
With two fewer doors, it doesn't take a whizz to figure out that an R8 with the same powertrain as the RS e-tron GT would be a breathtakingly quick supercar. Duessmann didn't expand on when an all-electric R8 could possibly see the light of day, but a more gentle transition to that model may be an R8 hybrid, something that Audi hinted at last year.
The possible R8 EV could benefit from Project Artemis, a new business unit with a focus on developing new technologies. This project will initially launch a new Audi, as well as a Bentley and a Porsche. While an R8 EV without a howling engine note is hard to imagine, we'd rather have that around than say goodbye to the R8 nameplate entirely.