Sales numbers don't lie.
The first-generation Audi R8 premiered in 2006 and it changed the supercar definition literally overnight. Before the R8, there really was no such thing as a daily supercar. Supercars before then were often challenging to drive and were more of a weekend toy than a daily runaround. The R8 forced established marques like Ferrari and Lamborghini to rethink their lineups. Today, it's not at all uncommon seeing owners of modern supercars driving them around town for regular errands and the like.
Unfortunately, the second-generation R8, which hit the market for 2015 and facelifted in 2018, has fallen under some hard times, though there could be an unmentioned silver lining. Audi has reported it sold a total of 574 R8s in the US in 2019, down from 927 the year prior. That's a 38 percent drop in just one year.
Does this mean the market for a naturally aspirated V10-powered supercar in America is finished? Not quite, but it's the powertrain that probably needs a significant update or outright replacement. Remember 2018's PB18 e-tron concept? That fully-electric supercar concept could very well become the next R8, or simply the next Audi halo model with a new name. The point being is that Audi is probably aware the current R8's time is nearly up. That mid-life facelift was just not enough, even though the freshened exterior styling looks fantastic.
Meanwhile, the all-new e-tron SUV sold quite well in its first model year with a total of 5,369 units leaving dealership lots. It outsold not only the TT (1,324) but also the A8 flagship sedan (2,963), so imagine if Audi launched a third-generation, all-electric R8. Clearly there's interest among Audi customers for electrification.
Given that the second-gen R8, despite the facelift, is now in its fifth model year, Audi should be busy preparing its successor. Only last week we learned the e-tron will soon receive the RS treatment, so even more extreme all-electric performance is totally possible. Will it be applied to the next R8? Audi has remained mum on this subject but the R8's future will need to be decided very soon. Perhaps it has been already.