It may not even have the same name.
Over the past decade, the Audi R8 has engrained itself as one of the best supercars on the market. As the car of choice for Iron Man himself, few cars can match the R8's cool factor. But halo cars like the R8 tend to sell in relatively small numbers and in 2018, Audi sold just 927 of them (an increase from 2017). Audi has facelifted the R8 for the 2020 model year along with a new Decennium special edition to celebrate the supercar's 10th anniversary.
But with 10 years on the market comes uncertainty about the R8's future. Some rumors have speculated the R8's replacement will be all-electric and even the factory where the car is built is gearing up to build the new e-tron GT. Speaking with Motoring, Oliver Hoffmann, managing director of Audi Sport, talked more about the R8's future.
There's some good news and bad news, and here's the bad news first. "I don’t think we will develop a successor of the current model [R8] with just a fully naturally aspirated engine or with a normal combustion engine,” Hoffmann said. This may sound like a devastating blow for fans of the R8's bewitching V10 engine but if you look closely at Hoffmann's words, he said there would not be an R8 successor with "just a fully naturally aspirated engine," not "no fully naturally aspirated engine."
This means the R8 should still have an engine, but it might be electrically assisted. "We will have electrification for the R8 in the future, but which kind of electrification, there is no decision yet. We are working on the concept, we are in contact with our board, but there is no decision yet regarding the concept of the next R8,” Hoffmann said. The current R8 should be safe until 2023 but beyond that, "We don’t know yet, there’s no decision.”
"We have some very, very interesting concepts regarding the [R8 successor's] powertrain, but also regarding the whole vehicle concept,” revealed Hoffmann. "There is no decision which kind of powertrain and which kind of electrification we will implement.” Audi currently has 12V and 48V mild hybrid systems, plug-in hybrids, and fully electric drivetrains, any one of which could be used for the next R8. But that's if the R8 successor even retains the name, the car could be called something else entirely.
Before the current R8 dies, Hoffmann says we will see some exciting new variants. "We will surprise you for sure with some special models of the R8 in the current lifecycle,” he said.