Now the automaker's R&D boss Peter Mertens has revealed that there are no plans at present for a successor.
“I would say so,” Mertens told Car and Driver when asked to confirm at last week's 2018 Geneva auto show if in fact there were no plans at present for a successor for the R8. “I always get [my PR chief] very nervous when I start talking about that stuff.”
He then added, “Never say never; performance cars are good for Audi.”
There are two main issues the fate of the R8 hinges on. Sales only average about 65 units per month in the United States, the single biggest market, and the Audi Sport division responsible for the car is investing big in new electrified models and even an electric car. The latter was confirmed by former Audi Sport boss Stephan Winkelmann for a launch in 2020 or 2021, and is likely to utilize the platform Porsche is developing for its production Mission E.
In his interview with Car and Driver, Mertens confirmed that Audi Sport will support three powertrains in the future: internal combustion, plug-in hybrid and electric.
2018 Audi R8 fitted with items from Audi Sport Performance Parts range
“All three concepts will have a future [at Audi Sport],” he explained. “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.”
The current R8 still has quite a few years left in it, as it was only introduced for 2017. A turbocharged V-6 is expected to be made available later this year.
But what about the car's platform-mate, the Lamborghini Huracán? There will definitely be a successor, and this week we learned the successor will stick with a V-10, albeit likely augmented with electrification to keep emissions low. It's possible the Huracán's successor will share a platform with Lamborghini's Aventador successor, or adopt the modular sports car platform being developed by Porsche for its next-generation 911 and 718 sports cars. Stay tuned.