The Audi R8 helped to put the company on the map as it was successful halo car which was praised for its attractive styling and impressive performance. Despite being one of the brand’s better known products, it appears the sun is about to set on the high-performance model.
In an interview with Car and Driver, Audi‘s technical development boss reportedly confirmed the company isn’t planning to offer a third-generation R8. When asked about the model, Peter Mertens said “It has a long life and it’s doing okay.” He then acknowledged there are no plans to replace the current model once it reaches the end of its lifecycle.
Despite effectively confirming the R8 will be phased out, Mertens said “Never say never.” He also added that performance cars are good for the brand.
It remains unclear why Audi has decided to drop the model but it has never been a big seller. Carsalesbase data shows U.S. sales peaked at 1,145 units in 2011 while European sales topped out at 2,935 units in 2008. As of last year, Audi sold 772 R8s in America and 1,366 in Europe.
Since the model was designed to be a halo car, the modest sales aren’t too surprising. However, there could be other factors at play including Audi’s decision to focus on plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles. A V10-powered supercar not only contradicts the eco-friendly message but it also uses resources which could be dedicated to fund more mainstream models.
It remains unclear when the R8 will be phased out but the model will reportedly stick around for awhile as the company is rumored to be working on an entry-level variant with a twin-turbo 2.9-liter V6 engine.