Wanna know how to be an auto writer in the year 2015? Besides doing the occasional powerslide in a press car, you just write these sentences over and over: "(Blank) will get a turbocharged 2.0-liter four" or "(Blank) will get a turbocharged V6." The next car to fill in the second blank might just be the 2016 Audi R8. Seriously.

At launch the all-new, Lamborghini Huracan-platformed R8 will get a choice of two V10 powerplants with either 540 horsepower or 610 horsepower, depending on how big your bank account is. Audi officials have said the car will get a smaller engine as well down the line.

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But what kind of engine? R8 technical lead Roland Schala told Top Gear that the new R8's production line is incredibly flexible, so it could see a variety of new engines. He seems to confirm another naturally-aspirated V8, but wait, there's more:

So a naturally aspirated V8 will appear, but what about a V6? "As low as a V6? Maybe," Roland hints. "The V6 is a perfect engine for this kind of car. We have a lot of potential with the V6, from 400bhp upwards, so it's possible."

Right away that makes you think twin-turbo V6, same as everybody else is doing these days. Engines are going smaller and getting forced induction to meet increasingly stringent emissions and fuel economy requirements. But Schala seems mum on the subject of turbocharging:

"For us it's all about high revolutions right now. It's not 100 per cent fixed on whether we bring turbos into the R8 for the future, but right now our focus is on the high revving naturally aspirated engine." No hardship, considering that V10 sounds like the apocalypse.

So could they get 400 horsepower from a naturally-aspirated V6? That sounds fun, but kind of unlikely for a production car. Supercharging, like the current 3.0T engine? Maybe. But the word on the street is the next Audi RS4 will get a twin-turbo V6, and one would think Audi would want to use that engine for other applications. (Top Gear's headline mentions the possibility of rear-wheel drive also, but the Audi folks never bring this up.)

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Given the trends right now, I think that if the R8 ever does get a six-cylinder engine, it will come with two turbos as well. Maybe the Acura NSX will get some more competition.


Contact the author at patrick@jalopnik.com.