Audi Bids Farewell To R8 In The Last Lap

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Audi R8: The Last Lap

At the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show, Audi unveiled what would be known as the Le Mans Quattro concept. This was the forerunner to the first-generation R8 which launched 3 years later. Whereas the show car sported a twin-turbo 5.0-liter V10 engine, the production design that followed opted away from forced induction and instead presented its audience with a naturally-aspirated 5.2-liter V10. This configuration was kept up until the most recent GT RWD model was revealed just over 12 months ago.

No matter the generation, the Audi R8 has always been iconic. From its first iteration, which was equipped with a 4.2-liter V8 and a gated manual gearbox, to the second-gen model that arrived at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show with a V10 engine and no clutch pedal, the R8 has been thrilling drivers for years. To commemorate this legacy, Audi released an emotional video titled “The Last Lap.” This video includes a variety of R8 models and was created with input from fans who selected the shooting locations and soundtrack, as well as helped shape the storyline. Lest we forget the Four Rings also offered the first-gen model with a smaller 4.2-liter V8, and both powertrains had a gated manual gearbox. When the second-gen car arrived at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, it was a V10-only affair without a clutch pedal. A new emotional video dubbed “The Last Lap” features a selection of R8 versions that were offered throughout the years. Fans of Ingolstadt’s supercar were asked to contribute by selecting where and how the cars were shot and also having their say about the storyline and soundtrack.

The result is an impressive collection of R8s hitting the ground running, encompassing both an early edition featuring the coveted six-speed manual transmission as well as the GT originated from the earliest iteration. Joining them also comes the 2023 GT RWD, constituted as the final lap for the R8. It should be noted that a special variant was excluded from this compendium; the low-key E-Tron exclusive to a production limit of less than 100 copies sold for an astounding $1 million each.

The R8 V12 TDI, which is today remembered only by the most enthusiastic automotive enthusiasts, was show-cased to the public in January 2008. Not long after that, it was re-branded as ‘R8 TDI Le Mans’. Being a diesel-driven supercar, it housed a highly strung 6.0-litre, twin-turbocharged engine which had a whopping output of nearly 500 horsepower and 737 lb-ft of torque; and transmission duties were taken on by a six-speed manual gearbox. All these engineering components allowed the car to do 0-62 mph (100 km/h) sprint in a mere 4.2 seconds and an unrestricted top speed just shy of 186 mph. The intimidating motor was eventually utilized in another vehicle: the extraordinary Q7 V12 TDI.

Earlier this year, Marcos Marques, the venture administrator of eFuels at Porsche, proclaimed that Audi had contemplated having an entry-level R8 maneuvered by an inline-five engine. This would’ve been furnished with rear-wheel drive, a manual transmission or an automatic DCT, powered by the turbocharged 2.5-liter unit from the TT RS and RS3. Although exhibiting fewer horsepower than the V10, the I5 was endowed with even more torque due to the presence of forced induction.

The R8 is entering an exciting new era; a time of transition. Volkswagen Group has decided that it will cease to manufacture the V10 engine next year, when they roll out the last Audi Huracan from the production line. But even though Oliver Hoffmann, head of Technical Development, has indicated there will be a third generation, this does not mean goodbye for the company’s flagship sports car permanently. Instead, it looks as though it may soon become a fully electric supercar running on the VW Group’s forthcoming Scalable Systems Platform (SSP).

Meanwhile, Lamborghini is devising a substitute for the Huracan featuring a traditional engine, with the likelihood of including a hybrid powertrain boasting a twin-turbo V8. Reports state that the eight-cylinder motor should generally act like an unfettered aspirated one. At an evidently 7,000 rpm point the turbos would supposedly take effect and the Revuelto’s dual-clutch, eight-speed automatic transmission will be implemented.

Unfortunately, Lamborghini will be bypassing the ID.R8 process and heading straight towards a full Electric Vehicle (EV) offering. According to Francesco Scardaoni, Director for the Asia-Pacific region at Lamborghini, due to their current financial successes, the automaker can afford to develop independently, without relying on Volvo’s assistance.

Source: Audi

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