Audi may ax the R8 after its current generation, according to a Car and Driver interview with R&D boss Peter Mertens.
The Audi R8 has cemented Audi’s reputation for high-performance models. Its halo car was successful, thanks in large part to its appealing style, impressive performance, and relatively low price tag compared to its peers. Starting at $164,900, the Audi R8 is significantly cheaper than the $199,800-and-up Lamborghini Huracán. However, that may be coming to an end with the end of the R8’s current generation.
Peter Mertens, Audi R&D head, admitted at the Geneva Motor Show that there are currently no plans for an R8 replacement. That decision does make some sense in the wake of Volkswagen Group’s move toward electrification. Developing hybrid and EV models may well take resources away from low-volume, high-performance internal combustion cars. However, that’s not to say that internal combustions are going the way of the dodo anytime soon. When asked about Audi’s performance applications, he responded:
““There will be very traditional combustion-engine high-performance vehicles, pure battery-electric vehicles on the high-performance side, and our sister brand Porsche also very much proves with their plug-in hybrids that the combination of both is a fantastic answer as well.”
Another issue hamstringing the R8’s potential for a new generation is its relative star power. Against the likes of its cousin, the Lamborghini Huracán, Audi’s R8 is a bit austere, considering the usual approach to supercars. That being said, there is, reportedly, an entry-level V6 version of the R8 coming, which does provide a low barrier to entry against brands like Lamborghini or Ferrari.
The R8 will stick around for awhile yet
If the R8 does indeed bow out in this generation, it will still be around for awhile yet. After all, Audi just introduced its second generation in 2015. Given the first generation’s long lifespan, it stands to reason this car will at least stick out the decade. That notion will ring particularly true if there is a new variant entering the range. However, given its flagging sales – last year’s sales were down by a third, at 772, over a peak of 1,145 in 2011 – it may not make fiscal sense to keep building it. At this point, it remains unclear whether Audi will actually discontinue the R8, but we’ll keep a close eye on developments.
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