Official: Audi’s next supercar after the R8 will be fully electric

By topgearsingapore, 16 December 2021

“Audi RS is following the fully electric strategy of the main Audi company. This is [the plan] with our S and RS models. If we should build a new kind of super sports car, it will be electric. It follows our strategy, our vision, into a fully electric future.”

There you have it. ‘If’ Audi builds a successor to the R8 – and all the clues are that it absolutely plans to – then it’s goodbye to that magnificent 5.2-litre V10, and hello e-motors for propulsion. The R8 is going fully ‘e-tron’. 

That’s news from the boss of Audi RS himself, Sebastian Grams. It’s the first time he’s gone on the record to confirm the next R8 won’t go hybrid or use a downsized engine. It’s definitely batteries, folks. Expect it along in the middle of this decade.

Does this mean the new ‘R8’ will morph from being one of the more affordable, lesser-horsepowered supercars to a £1million+, 2,000bhp hypercar like the Lotus Evjia and Rimac Nevera? Happily, it does not.

“The horsepower and performance [of supercars] is exponentially increasing right now with fully electric supercars”, notes Grams. “But I don’t think you need that much power.”

“If you build a lightweight car then you do not need 2,000 horsepower to have fun on the road. Physics will always limit the performance you can use even on track. For instance if you have 2,500 horsepower or 2,000 horsepower, it doesn’t make any difference.”

Audi has dabbled with electric supercars before: there were multiple R8 e-tron concepts though Grams admits “we only sold maybe five cars to Audi collectors”.

Pictured up top is the Audi PB18 e-tron concept: a shooting brake super-EV design study revealed back in 2018 to demonstrate what a future Audi e-flagship could look like. 

So, will Audi prioritise range over tummy-troubling urgency? Grams says Audi will try to get a neat balance.

“We have to build a car which is fun, but range is a factor. There are other important topics like sound, and what features you can have – like the RS Torque Rear mode in the RS3 – a kind of fun

Sounds like Audi will be considering the possibility of calibrating drift modes and clever torque vectoring into its e-supercar.

“It can even be guiding you on the road or helping you learn a track,” Grams suggests. 

With Lamborghini already confirming the next-gen Aventador and Huracán will keep fuel-burning engines (with a V12 promised in the top-dog) allied to plug-in hybrid electrification, it appears deeply unlikely a future Audi supercar will be a sister car to Lamborghini’s entry-level supercar.

Recently, Audi has become very best mates with Porsche, sharing the Taycan’s platform to create the e-tron GT saloon, and expected to lend out the Q6 e-tron SUV’s underpinnings upon which Porsche is basing the all-electric new Macan.

So, does this mean the new, all-electric R8 will have an electric Porsche sister car? A super-Cayman perhaps, or even a 918 Spyder successor? 

Insiders say lots of options are being discussed, but the main takeaway is the VW Group isn’t giving up on fast machinery any time soon, whatever it’s powered by. Stay tuned...

STORY Ollie Kew

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