RUMOURS of a turbo six companion for the V10-powered second-generation Audi R8 swirled around the interwebs last year, with many motoring industry pundits expecting Audi to give the second-gen R8 supercar a more accessible entry point by slipping a less potent engine behind its cabin.
But according to the CEO of Audi Sport Stephan Winkelmann, the man in charge of all Audi RS products as well as the top-tier R8, that’s not going to happen this decade – or possibly ever.
Asked by Wheels about the potential of a V6 turbo for the R8 within the current model’s life cycle, Winkelmann was clear:
“We’ll stick to the V10, there will not be any change,” he said.
No V6 at all? “No.”
While the first-generation R8 debuted with V8 power before a V10-engined flagship was introduced, Winkelmann’s comments indicate that as far as combustion engines are concerned, the present-gen R8 will strictly be a V10-only affair.
With the R8 V10 starting at $354,616 (budget $389,616 for the extra-muscular V10 Plus), a less expensive sibling would allow the R8 to better compete with luxury sportscar stalwarts like the Porsche 911 GTS. Mid-engined motoring nirvana would be in closer reach for Australia’s moneyed elite as a result.
And the engine thatwas the hot tip for this supposed ‘base model’ R8 was speculated to be Audi’s new 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6, which debuted in the new-gen Panamera but has since been revealed in a more highly-evolved 331kW/600Nm form for the 2018 Audi RS5.
That’s 108kW down on the current R8 V10 Plus, but 40Nm richer in torque. Compared to the V8-engined previous generation R8 4.2 FSI, the RS5’s turbo V6 makes 15kW more power and a whopping 170Nm more twist.
But while Winkelmann confirmed that Audi's beefy V6 isn’t on the cards for the R8, Audi Sport still has plans for its supercar. The company is expected to dial up the heat on its flagship model later this year with a more performance-focused offering, though don’t expect it to borrow heavily from the playbook of the 470kW Lamborghini Huracan Performante (above) – its under-the-skin cousin.
“Rear-wheel steering and active aerodynamics, these are the two issues with the increase of power,” Winkelmann said, referring to technology employed by Lamborghini for the Performante and Aventador S.
“Audi Sport has to go its own way. We are looking into the life cycle carefully with the R8, and you will see what is coming up.”
“What we’re doing is working on the direct synergy of the car, and we will come out with news within the year.”
Will it be a lightweight, track-honed successor to the limited edition R8 GT that was hinted to us late last year? We won't have to wait too long to find out.