The third-generation Audi R8 could carry on with a V10 after all

Audi Sport might split development costs with Lamborghini.

The Audi R8 might live to see a third generation, and it could arrive with an evolution of the current model's naturally-aspirated, 5.2-liter V10 engine, according to one of the company's top executives. Audi Sport -- the firm in charge of developing the R8 -- remains committed to the 10-cylinder engine even as parent company Audi pivots towards battery-electric and hybrid models.

"With the current R8, our customers love this car. We are fighting for the V10, but [for the next generation] it's more or less a question of ICE or electrification, and which kind of engine is useful for it," explained Oliver Hoffmann, Audi Sport's managing director, in an interview with British magazine Autocar.

Audi Sport most likely wouldn't be able to justify developing another naturally-aspirated V10 exclusively for the R8, and dropping the engine in another Audi model to leverage the benefits of economies of scale is easier said than done due to its high-revving, performance-first character. Lamborghini might be the model's saving grace, though. The brand -- which Audi owns -- has repeatedly announced it wants to keep naturally-aspirated engines in its portfoolio for as long as possible, even if that means adding a degree of electrification to keep regulators happy. The current-generation R8 and the Lamborghini Huracan share many components, and this partnership could ensure the R8's replacement arrives with V10 power.

"We are working very close with the guys from Sant'Agata. The only way to develop such kinds of cars is to share the cost for development work, and to have a very, very tough platform strategy," Hoffmann added.

Hoffmann didn't reveal when Audi Sport will decide whether to keep the V10, or whether to turn the R8 (pictured) into a battery-powered model. The company has remained tight-lipped about its flagship's future. Either way, Autocar learned a replacement is due out in about 2022, which is when Lamborghini is tentatively scheduled to reveal the Huracan's replacement.

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