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Audi considering hardcore R8 ‘RS’
Audi has confirmed that a range-topping version of its range-topping new supercar is under discussion. Yep - an RS version of the next R8 could be on the cards.
Speaking to TopGear.com, Heinz Hollerweger, managing director of Quattro GmbH, said that an ‘RS’ edition of next year’s second-gen R8 is being considered, though not for a while after the car’s launch.
“I have to admit,” Hollerweger told TG, “we are discussing it [an R8 RS]. We’re always open for new ideas. Things like this are very interesting for us.”
He admitted that a potential RS version of the R8 would inevitably be some way off - the standard version of the second-gen mid-engined supercar is expected to land early next year - but should it arrive, would feature a version of the 5.2-litre V10. “You can look at a Lamborghini and think of that,” he smiled, when asked about potential engine power outputs. The V10-engined Huracan makes 610bhp.
Hollerweger confirmed the MkII R8 would feature the same aluminium and carbon fibre platform as its Lamborghini cousin, though with different track widths.
Though the new R8, unlike the current car, is unlikely to feature the option of a manual gearbox. “There is almost no desire from our customers to have a manual gearbox,” Heinz told TG. “In the R8, the take-up of manual gearboxes is currently less than five per cent.”
We suspect this means dual-clutch gearboxes all round. Though, as we found out last year, Audi’s S-tronic setup is exceptionally good. We’ll live.
The new R8 could also feature, at some point, a petrol-electric hybrid, too. “You no doubt saw the Lamborghini Asterion concept in Paris,” Hollerweger said, referencing Lambo’s new 907bhp hybrid concept. “That could be an interesting alternative to have motors in the front for the R8. Some kind of electrification could be an option.”
Audi is still developing the R8 e-tron concept too, a full electric R8 to rival, among others, the range-extender BMW i8. And, get this - there’s also the slim possibility of a rear-wheel-drive special edition of the new R8.
“I wouldn’t exclude a rear-wheel-drive special for the future,” said Hollerweger, “but it probably won’t happen immediately. Of course, up to now the RS and R8 models have all been four-wheel-drive, because this is one of our Audi assets and we should keep it.
“But we’re discussing it,” he added. Watch this space…
Pictured: current Audi R8 ‘LMX’ with 562bhp