And it will still sound amazing.
Ever since it debuted in 2006, the Audi R8 has been a halo model of epic proportions. Now in its 13th model year and second generation, the R8's future looks hazy with lots of speculation surrounding a successor. Some reports claim the R8 will be replaced by an electric supercar with a different name while some believe it may not get a replacement at all.
Speaking with Top Gear, Audi managing director Oliver Hoffman spoke about the R8's future and what needs to be done to improve sales, which have slumped in recent years. "There's no decision yet regarding the technology and platform of the next-generation R8. But with this next generation, we have to fulfill all the regulations worldwide. That means it will be a car with an electrification part. But the current model is the base model for our customer racing and we have to fulfill that demand in the future," Hoffman explained.
Hoffman's words seem to strongly suggest that whatever form it takes, there will be a third-generation R8 and it will possess an engine, ruling out an all-electric model. Audi only sold 574 examples of the R8 last year in the US and around 1,200 cars in Europe. With customer sales slowing down, Audi has placed more of an emphasis on selling the R8 GT3 and GT4 customer race cars. "We work very closely with the guys from motorsport regarding battery technology, regarding power electronics and so on. So for us, this is a good chance to get experience from our sports guys, and we bring it in our series cars," Hoffman said.
"There's a high demand from our customers for more and more power. And electrification is a foundation for our future. In terms of meeting all the regulations worldwide, but also to increase power. So with electrification, we have the chance to increase the full system power. I remember a few years ago that everybody was talking about downsizing and decreasing weight and we don't need to, there's still a high demand for power from our customers. And we have the chance to fulfill this demand with electrification in the platform," he explained.
A hybrid R8 could be the best way to offer more power while also keeping the visceral sound. The only issue is the weight. "This is the challenge for the next generation of RS models. We will electrify our portfolio. And managing the weight is the main challenge when we develop hybrid cars," he said. But in terms of sound, "We're working very hard to design a special electric sound. So one way you can do this is to have the same noise as in combustion. So synthetic sound. But this is not the right answer. And I think in the future - my opinion - you will have a special sound for electric cars, and we will see a differentiation in the brands. Special brand-specific sounds for electric cars."