When Audi's R8 V12 TDI made its debut at the 2008 Detroit Motor Show, the world stood in awe of the sheer beauty of the idea: a fuel-efficient, torquey and potent diesel vehicle that could rival Lamborghinis and Ferraris in performance. But unfortunately new reports say the global industry downturn has claimed the oil-burning R8 as its latest victim.

At 5.5L and 500hp (373kW)/740lb-ft (1001Nm) of torque, the R8 TDI's V12 engine was a thing of beauty. Based around the company's dominating Le Mans diesel engine design, the V12 TDI was expected to be a sure hit with high-performance aficionados and diesel-heads everywhere. When a second concept was revealed at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show, many thought the car was a shoo-in for production.

But that high-tech engine and the technology that goes into it equate to huge costs - costs that a racing team can eat or recuperate, but are too high for a road-going car to bear, reports Auto Express.

Of course, just because the market isn't currently at a level that could make the car a successful business proposition doesn't mean it won't be at some point in the future. And Audi won't be letting its diesel racing technology languish in the mean time, so while the R8 V12 TDI may be dead, it could yet prove to come alive again several years down the road.


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