First Porsche launched a plug-in sports hybrid, then BMW, and now Audi confirmed next year its second-generation R8 will come in plug-in hybrid as well as previously reported all-electric form.
“We are able to make the R8 a plug-in hybrid,” said Audi board member for R&D Ulrich Hackenberg to CAR in Paris. “The Lamborghini Asterion shows this is possible – that car uses the platform of the R8. We will see an increase in the efficiency of high-performance cars – they have to meet CO2 regulations of the future in order to survive.”
Other automakers have sidestepped unequivocally confirming what everyone actually knew in that to meet carbon emissions, luxury and supercar makers are needing to electrify.
Porsche representatives for example have said the 918 Spyder was electrified because it was purely better than internal combustion, and so has McLaren of its P1. But all this plug-in technology is of course being done for regulations, but they do not want to spoil the fun while they’re at it – arguably. Audi had been one of the last bastions for a sweet gated manual shifter since Ferrari cancelled it, but those sell poorly, and only dual clutch automatics will spec’d for Audi’s R8 next time around.
But what’s on the rise, and what’s on the way out is even more in question with powertrain specs for cars in the global marketplace. Hackenberg added that a multi-pronged technological approach was still needed for varying vehicles in varying segments and markets in order for automakers to stay competitive.
Meanwhile the heads of Audi and VW Group have strongly stated European legislators ought not to lower the mandated CO2 g/km bar further until after the market has had more years to adjust, and they expressed doubt automakers can sell plug-in cars at a profit.
Earlier this year Audi had said the R8 e-tron EV would be only build to order, and a plug-in hybrid would not be built at all, but this has now changed.
Hackenberg said the new R8 coupe would first be launched in summer 2015, and the R8 Spyder would be in mid 2016.
“The R8 successor will come next year  and we have developed a platform that you can see in the Lamborghini Huracan today,” he said. “We will have different powertrains available, though. And in the R8 E-tron we will have more than 400km (250 miles) range.”