Audi has already made two attempts to electrify the Audi R8, with it only ever going into limited production back in 2015 before abruptly dying against all good reason. The future of the R8 nameplate has been uncertain for some time, but Autocar is claiming we may see another electric version next year to kick off Audi’s performance electric transition.
With the electric Audi E-Tron and E-Tron Sportback crossovers already out, and the E-Tron GT sedan that was featured in Avengers: Endgame due in the 2021 model year, Audi is on the verge of having a sizable BEV fleet. That can only means one thing: RS models are coming soon, too.
Autocar claims performance EVs will start with another R8 E-Tron first, though:
Before all this, however, it is understood that Audi will revive the all-electric R8 E-tron as an upgraded model to go into limited production once again late next year. The brand first presented a second-generation version of the pure-electric supercar in 2015, but production was canned around 16 months later due to extremely slow demand. A price tag of around £850,000 was considered to blame for Audi only producing 100 examples in that period.
Details of the new car have yet to be made official, but it is expected that it will look broadly similar to the 2015 car (see previous page). That model used a dual-motor EV powertrain, mated to a 92kWh battery, putting out 456bhp and 679lb ft for a 0-62mph time of 3.9sec and a promised range of up to 280 miles.
Autocar also claims Audi will focus on bringing down the R8 E-Tron’s astronomical price, and will likely only produce the new version in a limited run again. A slight performance boost thanks to VAG’s improved battery and powertrain improvements over the years is also expected.
That is, if the car is even real and actually happening. We reached out to Audi about it but haven’t heard a peep, Autocar isn’t at all clear about its sources, and if it’s coming as soon as they claim, we should be seeing suspicious prototypes and concept teases from Audi very soon.
As for the other performance EVs on the way, Autocar claims Audi plans to stick to the AX, SX, and RSX powertrain choices and labels for its BEVs.
The base E-Tron GT is expected to undercut the Porsche Taycan on price and performance, which seems appropriate, despite using the same basic 800-volt powertrain and platform as the Porsche. The concept GT promised 590 horsepower and a range of 248 miles from a 90 kWh battery pack, with a charge time of 20 minutes to 80 percent capacity, though that likely won’t be the base model.
There’s also allegedly plans for an E-Tron RS Sportback, which may get a third electric motor to boost performance over the current model (which tops out at 402 HP in boost mode currently), and which will supposedly feature similar styling flourishes to the RS Q8. Autocar claims prototypes of the Sportback with performance suspension have already been testing since May, so we may be able to expect a reveal later this year.
And then, on top of all of that, “normal” Audi RS models will also get electrified hybrid powertrains:
[Julius] Seebach also confirmed that, as Autocar first reported in September, plug-in hybrids are formally under development by Audi Sport’s engineers. The powertrains will be introduced on the next generation of RS models, and it is understood that the first Audi RS model to be offered as a PHEV will be the next-generation RS4.
So, potentially, if Autocar actually has any real sources and isn’t just posting its theories under the guise of “it is understood,” we’ll be getting a hybrid RS4, an electric R8, a full E-Tron GT sedan range, and an RS Sportback crossover in the next couple of years. While it all seems possible or likely, I’d take it all with a grain of salt. Maybe a nice mound of salt for the R8 rumor. We’ll see!