Audi might be planning to replace the R8 with an all-wheel drive, pure-electric supercar called the e-tron GTR in 2021.
At the reveal of the second-generation — the current iteration — of the R8, Audi design chief Marc Lichte said that the design of the brand’s supercar would follow the model of the TT sports car. In that the second generation was evolutionary. The third-gen R8, however, would be revolutionary. And, if the rumors are true, he wasn’t exaggerating.
According to a new report from Car, a leading British Automotive publication, Audi will be giving the internal combustion V10-engine-powered Lamborghini Huracan-based R8 a send off in two years when it reveals it’s all-new supercar reportedly dubbed the e-tron GTR. This, in keeping with Audi’s new line of all-electric cars that will wear the e-tron badge. These, so far, include the e-tron quattro SUV (that we’ve driven) and the forthcoming e-tron Sportback four-door coupe.
Borrowing components from the forthcoming Porsche Taycan, the e-tron GTR would have three electric motors that push power to all four wheels through an electrified version of the German brand’s ubiquitous quattro all-wheel drive system.
This trio of motors would be powered by a state-of-the-art 95 kWh solid state battery pack, which would put out the equivalent of around 650 horsepower (500 kilowatts). As a result of all that prodigious power, a 0 to 62 mile-per-hour run would be clocked in at just over two seconds.
Equally impressive, the car could do 300 miles on a single charge. And, owners would be able to replenish the solid-state batteries wirelessly through an inductive charging system.
This report isn’t as outlandish as it might seem. Audi has already built an all-electric variant of its R8 supercar. Last summer Audi revealed an all-electric concept supercar called the PB18 e-tron, which we’ve pictured here. Imagining that beauty of an all-electric supercar as a next-gen R8 is not wholly unfathomable.
That said, I would be surprised if Audi ditched the R8 name in place of the e-tron GTR moniker. Not only does the brand have a ton of equity wrapped up in the R8 name, both Mercedes and Nissan have supercars dubbed GTR. So, it’s hard to imagine Audi would want to get lost in the fray that way.
No matter what it’s called, if it looks anything like the PB18 e-tron and has anywhere near the spec sheet that Car is reporting, it should be an impressive thing indeed.
The rumor also raises another question: What would become of the next small Lamborghini supercar? Right now, because both Audi and Lamborghini are part of Volkswagen Group, the R8 and the Huracan share, well, virtually everything except styling. Does an all-electric Audi supercar mean that Lambo would go electric, too? Can a Lambo be a raging bull if it’s silent? I think it can’t be.
Hopefully, Lambo and Audi engineers worked together to ensure that the new all-aluminum monocoque chassis can accommodate both (at least) a plug-in hybrid variant for Lambo, which would save the all-electric version for the Audi stable. Luckily, we won’t have to wait long to find out.