A vital update has emerged on the long-rumored Audi electric sports car expected to be either the next-gen Audi R8 or an Audi R8 successor. According to a report that Car And Driver released on October 4, 2022, an Audi R8 successor called Audi Rnext (codename: Audi AU634/0) is in the deliberation stage.
The report suggests that the Audi Rnext is in the early stages of planning, claiming that the decision about its platform is pending. The Audi R8 successor could be based on the Porsche-developed SSP Sport platform that will underpin a Porsche three-row SUV, the next-gen Porsche Panamera, and the next-gen Porsche Taycan, or the more performance-focused platform underpinning the Porsche 911 electric (codename: Porsche PO998).
A third possibility, albeit a much weaker one, is Ingolstadt developing a new bespoke sports car platform. Oliver Blume, the new CEO of Volkswagen Group, should come to a final decision in a few months, with C&D claiming the Audi Rnext will feature in Volkswagen Group’s yet-to-be-finalized Planning Round 72. Blume is still the CEO of Porsche, so whether to give up a Porsche-developed platform’s exclusivity or allocate a sizable investment for a new Audi electric sports car platform may not be a straightforward decision.
Lambo & Bentley siblings
Should Audi get the green signal for a special sports car platform, the Audi Rnext could have sister models from Lamborghini and Bentley, as per the report. The Lamborghini electric sports car, which won’t be a Huracan successor, should arrive towards the end of the decade, while the Bentley sibling may follow in the early 2030s. There could be three types of EVs based on such a platform: a two-seat coupe, a two-seat convertible (Spyder), and a four-seat shooting brake.
Eliminating a battery pack and also battery modules, the Audi Rnext may feature cell-to-chassis (CTC) technology. Battery cells could be integrated into the frame, allowing a lower height, more torsional rigidity, and better weight distribution. Most importantly, this setup could enable a simulated mid-engined supercar experience, with batteries vertically stacked behind the seats.
Ride and handling would be the USP of the Rnext over the electric Audi RS models with regular body styles, including the potential Audi RS 6 e-tron quattro.
As the Q6 e-tron and the yet-to-be-named flagship model conceived under the Artemis project announced in 2020 are facing delays, a resource-hungry project like the Audi Rnext may not be feasible in the near term. Car And Driver claims that 2029 to be the Audi Rnext release date.
Audi officials on the all-electric R8
Encouraged by the response for the e-tron GT, top bosses at Audi and Audi Sport are confident that the world is ready for a pure electric ‘halo’ performance car from Ingolstadt, Auto Express reported on October 5, 2022. In 2021, the first year of sales, e-tron GT went to 6,896 customers worldwide. 2022 is turning out to be an even better year, with 5,621 units sold in the first half.
Audi’s Technical Development boss, Oliver Hoffmann, had told the British publication that the R8 successor will be a pure electric model. Sports car platforms and concepts for the future are in the works, the R&D boss said, adding that customers will get a surprise. “We are pushing for two-seater concepts and R8 successor concepts,” Hoffman said, indicating that a show car will precede the final replacement for the R8.
The future will be fully electric. We intend to come up with some surprises again (like the TT and R8) and we are working on sports car concepts that will probably (be) fully electric, however. And all I can say is we will surprise and thrill.Oliver Hoffmann, BoM member responsible for Technical Development, Audi (Annual Media Conference 2022 on March 17, 2022)
On December 8, 2021, Linda Kurz, Head of Product Marketing, Audi Sport, told CNET Roadshow that “transforming the R segment” will be Audi Sport’s “next challenge.” Further, she said that this segment “is going to be fully electric.” Kurz indicated that the next performance flagship of Audi, will have to be electric. Audi would continue in the R segment, be it with an R8 or a new model. In other words, there will be something for buyers to choose above the RS e-tron GT.
The R8 is the sports icon in our product portfolio. It’s extremely important for our image, for the sporty positioning of the brand, and it still has a great appeal and fascination. Similar to the TT, as I said before, we are discussing different concepts for potential successor to the R8. At the moment, no definite decision has been taken yet, but to us, it’s clear that in future we have to rethink the concept of a sports car and we are really focusing on it now.Oliver Hoffmann, BoM member responsible for Technical Development, Audi (Audi Annual Press Conference 2021), on the successor of the R8
In April 2021, Hildegard Wortmann, BoM member responsible for Sales and Marketing, Audi, told topgear.com that “a successor to the R8 won’t just be an R8 with an electric motor.” “It needs to be an R8 but different,” she added. Discussing the future of the R8 in an auto motor und sport interview in October 2020, Audi CEO Markus Duesmann had echoed the same view stating that “it will certainly not stay the way the car is currently designed.”
While later than expected, the Audi R8 successor (Audi Rnext) should set pulses racing. While it won’t let out the scream of a V10, it should excite sports car enthusiasts with big upgrades in performance, more driver friendliness with improved space and greater customization, and many new innovations.
Featured image: A rendition of a future R8 Electric by SRK Designs.