The diesel motor in Audi’s R10 LeMans racecar revolutionized the race by needing less fuel and providing more than adequate power. It’s just leaked onto the web that Audi could be bringing a V12 turbodiesel R8 to Detroit’s NAIAS this month. The car is labeled a concept, but rumours have it that production is already planned. Given the leaks and new-car debuts we’ve already seen, diesels may be the story of the Detroit show like plug-in hybrids were the story in Frankfurt.
More efficient and more powerful - an odd combination, but one made possible by diesel power. The V12 powerplant Audi has shoehorned into the R8 will produce 500bhp and 1000Nm of torque. Compared to the already very respectable 420hp provided by the petrol motor in the standard R8, the new motor - sourced from the Q7 - is even more monstrous. In a particularly prescient moment, we predicted this very occurrence over a year ago. By putting a tiny R8 under the V12 TDI motor instead of the rather gargantuan Q7, Audi should be able to eek something like 28mpg out of the combination.
For those thinking the R8 TDI just might be the perfect car, there is one, rather huge, drawback: there is reportedly no luggage space. The longer and larger V12 extends into the room reserved for luggage in the R8’s rear compartment, near the engine. However, something others have missed is the luggage space up front, which is adequate for a solid weekend’s worth of clothing for two - which puts the R8 V12 TDI right back in the running for the ultimate weekend tourer.