Audi R8: Turbo Five-Pot, RWD, Manual Option?

Can Audi Be Forgiven?

Audi recently affirmed suppositions that it thought about introducing a more economical R8, however, the well-known received it completely wrong. Rather than the twin-turbocharged V6 gossip that rose in 2018, the German manufacturer planned to outfit the arranged standard Audi R8 with a motor boasting some motorsport recognition.

It is likely that by now, you have come to the conclusion that we are discussing Audi’s iconic turbocharged five-cylinder engine, which had not been used for some time but returned triumphantly in 2009 with the advent of the TT RS.

Marcos Marques, the Project Manager for eFuels at Porsche, recently opened up to The Intercooler about something that had the potential to be amazing. If you’re a lover of Volkswagen, Audi, or Porsche cars then you should pay close attention – and let out an audible gasp when you hear what was supposed to be. Most captivating amongst the stories was perhaps about the potentially stunning R8 supercar.

Marques was a devotee of the thought, however, then he was not high enough up in the corporate hierarchy to explain why it at no point became a reality.

“It was a pity that the five-cylinder turbo engine didn’t make it to production,” expressed Marques. “It was a solid motor, had a unique sound, and I think it would have been a great fit for the R8. The car was already light and nimble, but maybe some folks at Audi Sport felt it didn’t represent an authentic R8, so they decided against it at the last minute.”

The aforesaid quotation is filled with emotion. It is a both joyful and sorrowful acknowledgement: joy for the confirmation of a five-cylinder R8, but sadness that we will never have a chance to drive it. Marques noted that it generated less horsepower but more torque, as well as a speed level close to that of the V10 – likely clarifying why it was never put into production.

The “more torque” gives us something to work with. The naturally aspirated V10 in the regular R8 produced 562 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. In the current-generation RS3, the five-pot produces 401 hp and 369 lb-ft, but this engine is known to be very tuneable. Audi likely used only an ECU tweak to increase the torque output beyond 400 lb-ft. In the Donkervoort F22, it produces a reliable 492 hp and 494 lb-ft.

We have a feeling Audi most likely put the brakes on this project because the vehicle that resulted was extraordinary. Thanks to the 2023 R8 GT, we already know a Rear-Wheel Drive edition of the R8 truly is awe-inspiring. If just meditate on the thought of it being even lighter and provided with a 6-speed manual transmission. Buyers would have gone right past the exorbitantly priced V10 performance quattro and eagerly submitted an order for the entry-level 5-cylinder version.

Alas, we shall never be aware; the Audi R8 is no more, and its heir apparent will presumably be powered by electricity. Notwithstanding our reception of an electrically powered supercar, we can’t fathom the motors that produce it holding the same vibrant, audacious sound which was associated with Audi’s rallying successes in years past.

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