The Audi R8 has been a resounding success. The $118,450 mid-engine supercar punctuates (with an exclamation mark, no less) Audi’s soaring sales and a burnishes the brand’s image. But one supercar isn’t enough for hungry Audi. The German automaker is mulling a second supercar positioned well above the R8 and taking its cues—both styling and technology—from the Le Mans–winning R18 e-tron Quattro. Wolfgang Dürheimer, head of R&D at Audi, described the proposed halo car as “a straight-forward derivative of the race car” in an interview with Car and Driver. That means a diesel engine with an electrified hybrid assist and all-wheel drive if the road-going R18 is approved for production. “Technology-wise, I think it’s possible,” says Dürheimer.
The R18 would be a true exotic, with a price likely north of $500,000 and production limited to keep demand high. If this all sounds like Audi is developing its own take on the Porsche 918 Spyder, there’s good reason. Dürheimer oversaw that program in a prior stint as the head of R&D at Porsche.
The technical chief also has rekindled interest in a new Audi sports car priced below the R8. The last we heard, the on-again, off-again mid-engine car had died an inelegant death amidst company politics. The previously rumored R4 was tied to sister cars for Porsche and Volkswagen, but the whole program crumbled when Porsche bowed out. Dürheimer might have more success the second time around if he can justify the R4 without including Porsche or Volkswagen in the business case. While the R4 program is much more uncertain than the R18 at this point, Dürheimer knows what he has to do to push the program forward. The proposal must prove that such a car can “make money and fulfill the halo effect,” he says.
Audi RS3 Nearly a Done Deal
A high-performance RS variant of the forthcoming A3 is inevitable and sales in the U.S. are all but guaranteed. At this point, it’s a matter of deciding which body style to import. Europe almost certainly will develop the RS3 as a hatchback, so Audi of America can either import that model or transfer the RS hardware to an A3 sedan. Our money is on an RS3 sedan, which we’ve previously detailed, with a U.S. arrival early in 2015. As far as what will power the baby RS, the A3 concept shown at the 2011 Geneva auto show should provide a good idea. With its 408-hp turbocharged five-cylinder, that car could have easily been called the RS3 concept.
Audi’s Electrics Aren’t Dead, They’re Just Not Very Alive
“We are in a hold position on pure EVs,” Dürheimer says. The brand is confident in the concepts it has developed, but electric cars remain a tough sell to the public and the engineers are holding out for a breakthrough in battery technology that will improve cost, range, size, and long-term durability. “We don’t believe electromobility is gone forever,” Dürheimer says. In fact, plan on reading more on the R8 e-tron in the near future; Audi just finished building 10 demonstration cars that it plans to circulate to the media.
Audi’s electrification knowledge base won’t go to waste, though. With electric cars on hold, the company is shifting its focus to plug-in hybrids. The rollout starts with an A3 plug-in hybrid this year (the U.S. arrival likely won’t be until 2014) with the technology then filtering upstream into larger sedans and crossovers. Audi’s Crosslane Coupé concept from last year’s Paris auto show provides a hint at the powertrain concept with its three-cylinder engine and two electric motors.
- First Drive: 2013 Audi R8 Coupe and Spyder
- Instrumented Test: 2013 Audi RS5
- Comparison Test: 2012 BMW X5 M vs. 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG, 2012 Porsche Cayenne Turbo
Making the Urus a Reality
In the massive Volkswagen Group corporate empire, it’s difficult to talk about another brand without stepping on toes, and so Dürheimer is quick to point out that Lamborghini has its own management and research chief. But as both the owner of Lamborghini and the Volkswagen Group’s center for SUV development, Audi would play a key role in shaping the technical aspects of the Urus for production. To that end, Dürheimer will do everything in his power to make the concept a reality. “I will push hard and give my maximum support to make an SUV come true,” he says. We were afraid of that.
Read more from source:“caranddriver.com”
audi rd boss wolfgang drheimer talks r18 inspired supercar electrics and more 2013 detroit auto show
And here is for the eye:Images from around the web about audi rd boss wolfgang drheimer talks r18 inspired supercar electrics and more 2013 detroit auto show, hope you like them. Keywords: audi rdx, audi rs7, audi rs5, audi rs6, audi rs3, audi rs4, audi rs3 canada, audi rs8, audi rs6 avant, audi rs, audi rd boss wolfgang drheimer talks r18 inspired supercar electrics and more 2013 detroit auto show .