An all-electric powertrain is perhaps the only way to save the R8.
As the transition from internal combustion to electrification in various forms continues, the ultra-exclusive hypercar segment is also undergoing similar changes, perhaps at an event faster pace. After all, it's halo cars whose technologies typically trickle down to an automaker's more mainstream lineup. Audi is certainly no exception.
According to Autocar, the next-generation Audi R8, due in 2022, will become an electric supercar aimed directly at dethroning the performance capabilities of some of today's hypercars. While the V10 engine has long been the R8's gold standard, Audi sees the reality of the segment and market and will thus develop an electric drivetrain for the third-generation R8.
Later this month, the e-tron SUV, Audi's first all-electric model, will debut and the electric drivetrain technologies developed for it will continue to evolve. This also isn't the first time Audi considered fully electrifying the R8. Back in 2015, the limited edition R8 e-Tron debuted, but it was not a replacement for the V8 and V10-powered R8s. Instead, it was simply a showcase of what was technically possible at the time. But times change.
The 2022 R8 will only be available as an EV. In fact, Audi just offered the world a pretty good glimpse of what it has in mind for the third-gen R8 last month at Pebble Beach with the debut of the PB10 e-tron electric supercar concept.
To prove its EV tech will still fully enable a thrilling driving experience, that concept did not feature any self-driving technologies. Whether the next R8 will be devoid of that tech is still unknown, but the message was clear: Audi has no intention of letting driving enthusiasts down. The PB10 e-tron is powered by three electric motors, a 201-hp unit up front and two more at the rear wheels offering another 604 hp. Combined output comes to 671 hp and 612 lb-ft of torque, however peak power of 764 hp is totally doable albeit in short bursts (for now). Zero to 62 mph takes just over two seconds.
Not long ago, there was a rumor claiming the current R8 would be the last R8 due to a drop in sales. As of now, that discontinuation won't be happening; the R8 simply needs to be rethought. Electrifying the entire powertrain is the solution to keeping the R8 alive.