In 2022, Audi will reinvent the R8 as an electric supercar, in a move that will mark the end of the use of V10 engines by the carmaker.
V10s have been a staple for Audi, having been used in some of their most exciting performance models over the past few decades. The adoption of the all-electric drivetrain for the third-gen range-topping supercar highlights the rise of electric power and, as a corollary, the end of big, high-revving, normally aspirated engines sans electrical assistance.
Audi is also winding down the use of V8 engines. The latest RS4 and RS5 models have switched to downsized turbo V6s. The bigger V8s are seen in only the most potent models – in the A6, A7 and A8 ranges, as well as the bruising SQ7 SUV.
Audi created a limited-run R8 E-tron in 2015 as its first step towards electrified performance cars. Senior company sources have hinted that the brand plans to go one step further with the third-generation model by launching is solely as an electric car – a radically different proposition from today’s model.
The 2022 model will likely take inspiration from the PB18 e-tron concept, which was revealed at this year's Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. The 775hp, triple-motor concept uses a shooting brake-like rear-end for greater interior space and improved day-to-day usability than the current R8. However, performance is still paramount. Audi has theorised a top speed above 300kph, and a 0-100kph time of "scarcely more than 2sec".
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