The naturally aspirated V10 will be replaced with a silent but violent battery pack.
The Audi R8 is officially dead, but at least the German brand is building 333 rear-wheel-drive special-edition cars to celebrate the life of a supercar that achieved icon status within two short generations. Audi will distribute the 333 V10 GT RWDs globally, and there's a good chance they've all been spoken for already. It took Chrysler less than a day to sell 2,200 300Cs in North America, so selling 300 Audis globally probably took less than 15 minutes.
Now everyone wants to know what's next, and you likely don't want to hear it if you were a fan of the R8's naturally aspirated, high-revving engines. Audi is reportedly working on an electric replacement, which will likely be called the Rnext. As in, this is what comes next after the R8.
We already knew electrification was next for the Audi R8, but Car and Driver recently sat down with several insiders, who provided additional information. First and most important, the Rnext name is not set in stone. It will only be signed off next year if at all, said one source. Porsche and Volkswagen CEO "Blume will keep the brands on a long leash to stimulate creativity and differentiation," said another insider. A third commented that it's all about the bottom line, in other words, making money. The latter comment is hardly surprising. Automotive manufacturers are businesses, after all.
The business model for the R8 will change completely. The Audi R8 and Lamborghini Huracan/Gallardo were traditionally closely related, but the Rnext will have nothing in common with the Huracan replacement, which may be hybridized but will retain a combustion engine at its core.
We know Lambo's focus is still very much on ICE, as it's developing a high-revving twin-turbo V8 for Le Mans, which will inevitably filter down to a road car at some stage.
Audi is all-in on EV power, and it has the Formula 1 team to prove it. From 2026, F1 cars will be 50% electric and a brilliant showcase for a brand's technology. In addition to investing in the pinnacle of motorsport, Audi is already competing in the EV class in the famous Dakar Rally. The brand may have backpedaled slightly about when it will ditch ICE, but EV production still seems to be the primary target.
The most obvious route is to share a platform with upcoming Porsche products, although Porsche is working on something that is supposed to be exclusive to its brand. Stuttgart's finest must be working on a second-generation Taycan because EVs tend to age more rapidly than ICE cars. If you compare the Taycan Turbo's figures against something brand-new like the Lucid Air Sapphire, you'll see a vast difference in just three short years.
The big question is whether Oliver Blume will allow this kind of platform sharing.
We think so because it will hardly be the first time the same platform and engine are used for vastly different models. The Volkswagen Group owns Bentley, Lamborghini, and Audi. These brands produce the Bentayga, Urus, and RS Q8, all of which are essentially the same car, yet they all manage to feel different. Let's hope the same stays true for electric products.