'Lamborghini Has to Have a Naturally-Aspirated Engine': Audi Sport Exec

Photo: Andrew P Collins

Autocar caught up with Audi Sport boss Oliver Hoffmann at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring where he told the British car pub that his team’s trying to keep the V10 in the next R8, a hardcore “GT2” style R8 might be in the pipeline, and Lamborghini’s committed to staying away from turbochargers.

Hoffman actually has two titles in the Volkswagen Audi group, of which Lamborghini and Porsche (and Bentley) are family members. He’s Head of Technical Development at the Neckarsulm site, and Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH per QuattroDaily.

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As Autocar quotes him recently:

“Lamborghini has to have a naturally-aspirated engine, no other brand stands for NA like Lamborghini.”

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“We are working very close with the guys from Sant’Agata. The only way to develop such kinds of cars is to share the cost for development work and to have a very, very tough platform strategy.”

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“The [current] Lamborghini Huracan is based on the R8 platform, and this helps us–together with Lamborghini, with Porsche, with all the sporty brands in our group–to share the development costs.”

And as my dear friend and colleague Jason Torchinsky pointed out, you can’t spell “Lamborghini” without an N and an A, so, I think the logic here checks out.

Joking aside, it sounds like decisions over how to power the next R8 will be more about “electric versus internal combustion” as opposed to “V10, V8, turbo, or natural aspiration.” As for a customer racing-inspired hardcore R8 for the street, Hoffman offered:

“We have some good ideas for a more extreme R8,” he said. “We know the powerful exterior design of our racing car is amazing. People want to drive this on the street.” You know, as long as the company can work out niggles like compliance and “pedestrian safety.”

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Of course it’s important to take anything we hear from automotive executives with a grain of salt. They usually speak in platitudes to avoid committing to anything, and of course they’ll always reserve the right to change their minds, and have to run their ideas through committees... But all that said, it’s interesting to hear what’s being discussed as the future of performance cars in boardrooms of big companies like the Volkswagen Audi Group.

For my $150,000 that I don’t have, I’d be onboard with an electric R8 as much as a V10. maybe even more so. As long as Audi can figure out how to keep it from catching fire.

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About the author

Andrew P. Collins

Reviews Editor, Jalopnik | 1975 International Scout, 1984 Nissan 300ZX, 1991 Suzuki GSXR, 1998 Mitsubishi Montero, 2005 Acura TL