It’s been rumoured for years now, but Audi is reportedly finally gearing up to launch an all-electric successor to the R8 supercar in the middle of this decade.
The Audi electric supercar hasn’t been officially signed off yet, according to sources who spoke with Autocar, but it’s “very much underway”.
“I’m fighting for [an R8 successor] and so are the board of Audi,” Audi Sport managing director, Sebastian Grams, told Autocar.
“We are looking at different kinds of concepts, and the direction is electrified. If I get my wish, it will be an R8 that’s electric.”
It’s understood this new halo electric vehicle (EV) won’t be called the R8, and will reportedly have a new design language that won’t resemble the current model.
Despite this, the R8 electric successor will reportedly still be built as a pure sports car with two doors, a low roof, and more power than any other car in the Audi range.
The most powerful Audi model is currently the e-tron GT RS, which is powered by a dual-motor all-wheel drive setup producing 440kW of power (475kW in boost mode) and 830Nm of torque.
The Audi e-tron GT RS is a four-door sedan though, and is built on the same dedicated J1 EV architecture as the Porsche Taycan.
Audi hasn’t revealed any details about an R8 successor as of yet, but it could take some design cues from the all-electric PB18 e-tron concept that was revealed at the 2018 Pebble Beach Car Week in California.
The German carmaker also hasn’t indicated what platform the R8 successor will be built on, but one option is the modular SSP sport platform recently confirmed by Porsche to be used in a next-generation Taycan and Panamera, as well as a high-end luxury SUV.
There’s also the possibility that Audi might use the sports car platform Porsche is developing for its upcoming all-electric 718 Boxster and Cayman.
This Porsche-developed EV architecture is centred around controlling the weight of an EV, and creating the feeling of nimbleness, according to Frank-Steffen Walliser, vice-president responsible for the Porsche 911 and 718 model lines.
While the current R8 continues to be sold overseas, it was dropped from the local Audi range in September 2021 when production of the tuned-for-Australia of the 5.2-litre V10 engine ended.
With the company unwilling to invest in homologating a replacement engine tune for Down Under, the two-door coupe and Spyder are now denied entry to our shores.
Whenever the R8 successor launches, it won’t be the first electrified or fully-electric model from Audi Sport.
In 2015 the company launched the R8 e-tron which featured two electric motors driving the rear wheels.
It was short lived though as there were reportedly fewer than 100 examples produced.
With a total system output of 340kW and 920Nm, the Audi R8 e-tron had a claimed 0-100km/h sprint time of 3.9 seconds.
A T-shaped 92kWh battery pack promised a driving range of around 450km according to the lenient NEDC standard.
In December 2021 Audi Sport head of product marketing Linda Kurz told CNET Roadshow that by 2026 Audi Sport expects 80 per cent of RS models across the world to have an electrified drivetrain.
This is slightly different to mainstream Audi models, as it will launch its last new global model with internal combustion engines (ICE) in 2025, before gradually phasing out production until 2033 in all markets except for China.