Once upon a time the Audi R8, the original car at least, was a sub-£80K car. When the
was announced as exclusively V10-engined and from £120,000, the lack of a V8 to compete with cars like the 911 Carrera and AMG GT seemed strange. That could be about to change, albeit not perhaps how we expected.
The 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 seen in various RS model seemed like the logical fit for the R8, but instead the latest news from Autocar is that the turbocharged V6 recently debuted in the Porsche Panamera will go in the Audi. Yes, really.
It's also set to be the engine used
in the RS4
and S5 using a 3.0-litre single-turbo V6. Just in case the Audi engine range wasn't confusing enough. China is significant in all this though, car tax over there based on engine capacity.
In the Panamera the twin-turbo V6 makes 440hp and 434lb ft running only 0.4 bar of boost, so somewhere around 500hp would make sense for the R8 should it happen. In the RS4 and RS5, expect a little over the 450hp made by the old V8 cars but a great deal more torque. It's apparently going to be in the RS Q5 as well...
Now of course fast Audis have some heritage with twin-turbo V6s, the original RS4 having forged quite a reputation with its 2.7-litre Cosworth tuned lump. But will buyers be receptive to a fully fledged supercar with six-cylinders? Jaguar and AMG make much of the emotional appeal offered by their respective V8s, so it will be intriguing to see how Audi approaches this significant downsizing. More when we have it!