Get ready for an Audi R8 with an engine smaller than the current V-8 or V-10, according to Audi technical development head Ulrich Hackenberg. Autocar reports that Hackenberg is open to the possibility of a downsized, turbocharged engine for the next-generation Audi R8 that debuts in 2015.
Hackenberg told Autocar that the Audi R8, "will need a turbocharged engine," because, "In some countries, you need to reduce the capacity of engines and we need to find solutions for these markets… It's a big step from 10 cylinders to four though -- there are some numbers in between that we could look at."
Currently, the 2014 Audi R8 is offered with either a 4.2-liter V-8 or a 5.2-liter V-10 engine. A version of the 5.2-liter is also employed in the Lamborghini Huracán, which is closely related to the next-generation Audi R8 -- just as today's R8 is a sibling to the discontinued Lamborghini Gallardo.
Hackenberg confirmed that the new Audi R8 will continue to share many parts with the Lamborghini, including its V-10 engine and dual-clutch transmission, carbon-fiber firewall and center tunnel, and a structure that is made primarily from aluminum. Compared to the Huracán, the Audi R8 will be wider and will have a longer wheelbase, and, "The suspension layout and geometry is different so we can tune different characteristics."
Production of the next Audi R8 is expected to begin this year at a newly finished plant in Neckarsulm, Germany. We previously reported that the new Audi R8 will be lighter than today's model, and will ride on the new MSB-M modular platform that is shared with the Huracán. Along with the V-10, we expect the V-8 engine to remain, with the potential smaller turbo engine slotting in below these two powertrains. A dual-clutch transmission will be standard, as Hackenberg indicated the new R8 will not continue to offer a six-speed manual transmission. Pricing for the current 2014 Audi R8 (pictured) ranges from $119,150 to $183,895, including destination and gas-guzzler charges.
Plug-In RejuvenatedHackenberg also confirmed to Autocar that work on an Audi R8 e-tron plug-in model (pictured above) has been restarted. The R8 e-tron was at one point canceled, but earlier this year reports indicated that Audi had overcome several development issues and would continue with the program. The Audi R8 e-tron was originally axed because the battery technology used was reportedly too expensive and didn't give an adequate driving range. A decision on whether and when the car will go into production is expected soon.
"It was cancelled due to the range and a business case," Hackenberg told Autocar. "We've sorted out the range -- now more than 450km [280 miles] -- and improved all the running gear for efficiency."