The fight for the R8's survival is on within the halls of the German brand. According to sources close to new CEO Markus Duesmann, the V-10-powered supercar has an uncertain future as Audi seeks to reduce costs while increasing its focusing on electrification.
Audi was already undertaking cost-cutting measures under the guidance of previous CEO Bram Schot who stepped down in April. With the challenge of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, Duesmann is now looking to make further cuts.
Under Schot, the TT was already in line to be dropped while the R8 was placed under review. Sources close to Duesmann told Autocar in an interview published Tuesday that the R8's review is now under increased focus.
The good news is that Audi could still launch models to fill the void of the TT and R8. After confirming the demise of the TT last year, Schot said a new electric car would be launched to fill the void, though he didn't say whether it would be a sports car. Rumors point to it being a coupe-like sedan similar to the BMW 2-Series Gran Coupe and Mercedes-Benz CLA, albeit with battery-electric power.
As for the R8, there have been multiple rumblings that an electric supercar along the lines of 2018's PB18 E-Tron concept car could be in the works.
What's helped the R8 in the past is the fact it shares some of the cost burden with Lamborghini's entry-level supercar, the current version of which is the Huracan. We know Lamborghini will launch a successor to the Huracan, powered by a V-10-based plug-in hybrid powertrain. Without an R8 to twin this model with, Lamborghini may end up twinning the development with the Aventador replacement, which will also go the plug-in hybrid route.
Audi PB18 e-tron concept
We've also seen Audi announce its exit from DTM after the 2020 season as part of the cost-cutting measures.
According to Autocar's sources, further measures could see Audi update its MLB modular platform designed for models sized from the A4 up to be “more systematically paired” with Porsche's MSB platform underpinning the Panamera and latest Bentley range. Audi and Porsche have already started to more closely cooperate in the development of some powertrains and the PPE modular EV platform.