Audi will soon enter the realms of the hypercar with its diesel-electric R10 inspired by its Le Mans racers.
Audi is focused on getting its four-wheel drive R10 flagship into production after shelving plans for the R8 e-tron. We reported on Audi's new halo car at the backend of last year, but according to Autocar the signs are good that the Le Mans-inspired diesel hybrid hypercar will be put into production. It's currently at the stage of "product evaluation", claims Audi's R&D chief Wolfgang Durheimer, formerly of Porsche, Bentley and Bugatti leadership. By the time Frankfurt 2013 rolls around a concept of the Audi hypercar could be ready.
At the heart of the R10 will be a high-powered diesel-electric powertrain, consisting of a heavily reworked version of Audi's 3.0-liter turbo V6 diesel unit, which will send around 420 hp and 515 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic box and the latest in torque-vectoring Quattro four-wheel-drive. Combined with a pair of brushless electric motors, total output will be over 600 hp and 737 lb-ft of torque. The electric motors will sit in the front axle and drive the front wheels, mirroring the layout of the Porsche 918 Spyder which Durheimer helped develop.
A newly-developed carbon-fiber monocoque structure will be wrapped in a body featuring styling cues from the R18 race car, according to Durheimer. The last time Audi experimented with a diesel supercar was the R10 V12 TDI Concept back in 2008. That car never saw the light of day, but the diesel-electric hypercar has every chance of propelling Audi into the ultra-exclusive hypercar segment...and even pitting it against its own corporate cousins Porsche, Lamborghini and Bugatti.