Audi looks to the future of the R8 with smaller displacement, turbocharged engines

Audi-R8_V10_plus_2016
The higher-ups at Audi have confirmed that its halo sports car, the R8, will soon adopt a turbocharged powertrain. While that won’t come as a shock to the majority of enthusiasts, it does signal the end for Audi’s iconic 4.2-liter V8.

Presently, the 2016 R8 comes in two flavors, both powered by a 5.2-liter V10 borrowed from the new Lamborghini Huracan. The standard R8 V10 makes 540 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque while the V10 Plus turns up the heat to the tune of 610 HP and 413 lb-ft of torque.

Audi’s board member for development, Ulrich Hackenberg, and quattro boss Heinz Peter Hollerweger stuck by the decision to use a V10, but acknowledged that naturally-aspirated engines will have a short lifespan in the present generation sports car.

There are a few key reasons to switch to a turbocharged engine. On the performance end, turbo technology has advanced to render power delays almost non-existent and deliver ample amounts of torque. Fuel economy and tightening regulations also are part of the decision to drop the displacement. Finally, with the industry’s best sports cars moving to hybrid and turbocharged setups, the R8 risks being viewed as a dinosaur.

The Mercedes-AMG GT and GT S, the McLaren 570 S and 650 S, the Porsche 911 Turbo, and Ferrari’s 488 GTB are all twin-turbocharged competitors. And not only do the R8’s rivals develop more torque, but they do it much earlier in the rev range.

In terms of where the turbocharged R8 version would fall within the halo car’s range, both executives hinted that the once-entry-level 4.2-liter V8, not the V10, would be the one to go. “It’s quite unique to build naturally aspirated engines today and our customers love it. It doesn’t mean we are not going to do a turbo, but naturally aspirated is here to stay as well,” Dr Hackenberg said during the R8 launch in Portugal last week.

As for which turbocharged motor would be called up to serve, it looks like both Audi’s in-line five-cylinder and its twin-turbocharged V6 are likely candidates.

Product Review

Inside Maserati's Levante SUV beats the heart of a Ferrari

Maserati’s luxury SUV gets a shot in the arm by way of Ferrari-derived V8 power, but is it enough to go toe-to-toe with the established players in the high performance sport-utility segment? Let’s find out.
Cars

Thinking of opting for a car with a diesel engine? Here's what you need to know

Modern diesel-powered models prove that it is possible to build a clean, efficient diesel engine without sacrificing performance. Here's what you need to know about diesel cars, and how they differ from gasoline-powered models.
Product Review

The 2019 Porsche Macan S is a luxurious and quick SUV, but it's no road tripper

The roster of models challenging the Porsche Macan grows annually. The German firm updated its smallest, most affordable SUV with a new engine, more tech features, and subtle design tweaks to keep it looking fresh.
Product Review

Audi built an electric SUV for buyers who want gasoline-free to mean stress-free

We finally got to spend time behind the wheel of the electric 2019 Audi E-Tron bustling cities and arid desert of the United Arab Emirates to see how it compares with Jaguar and Tesla's competitors.
Cars

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…
Cars

These winter-warrior cars will never leave you out in the cold

Snow can be an absolute pain if your vehicle isn't optimized to handle that sort of terrain. If brutal snowstorms are an annual part of your life, we recommend you pick up one of these winter-ready vehicles.
Cars

Driving a prototype 2020 Passat at Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground

Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground is where new cars are tested to the breaking point, including the 2020 Passat midsize sedan. Ride along as the new Passat completes testing ahead of its 2019 launch.
Cars

2020 Toyota Supra caught hiding in a trailer without a shred of camouflage

Toyota's plan to once again lure enthusiasts into showrooms involves bringing back the Supra, one of its most emblematic nameplates. Here's what we know so far about the upcoming coupe, which Toyota is developing jointly with BMW.
Cars

NYC mandates minimum wage for Uber, Lyft, other app-based rideshare drivers

New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission approved a rule that drivers for companies such as Uber and Lyft must be paid at least minimum wage, even though they are independent contractors. The new pay rate includes operating costs.
Cars

LM Industries’ autonomous shuttles head to Phoenix, Sacramento campuses

LM Industries will deploy Olli low-speed autonomous shuttles at school campuses in Arizona and California as part of its ongoing "fleet challenge," which asks local groups to propose uses for autonomous vehicles.
Cars

Bosch’s CES-bound shuttle concept takes us on a trip to a not-too-distant future

Bosch envisions a future in which driverless shuttles occupy their own market segment. The German firm won't build the shuttles, but it wants to provide everything else, ranging from the drive system to the apps used to hail them.
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.
Product Review

Boring takes a back seat as 2019 Corolla Hatchback mixes fun with practicality

We drive the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, the latest hatchback to bear the Corolla name. As the best-selling nameplate in automotive history, Toyota has high expectations to meet. This model mostly lives up to the legacy.
Cars

Hertz speeds up car rentals with biometric scan technology

Biometric security technology that uses face, fingerprint, and voice recognition is gaining traction, with Hertz emerging as the latest company to incorporate it into its daily operations.