According to Car and Driver’s sources, Audi has confirmed an entry-level Audi R8 with a twin-turbocharged V6 will be coming in 2018. There have been swirling rumors of an entry-level R8 for months now, with rumored engines varying from a twin-turbo V6 to the turbocharged I5 engine that pwoeres the RS3 and TT RS. However, Audi is going with a modified version of the newly-announced Audi S4’s 3.0 liter V6.
The R8 V6 will, as we already mentioned, have two turbochargers bolted to it and should produce somewhere in the realm of 450 hp, making it more powerful than pretty much everything else in its segment. That engine will be mated to the R8’s seven-speed dual-clutch S-Tronic gearbox only, with no manual option available. There were some fans hoping that if Audi were to make an entry-level R8, that it would bring back the open-gate manual from the previous generation, but that’s not the case here. It’s odd that Audi will fit this S4 engine with the R8’s S-Tronic ‘box, because it’s apparently too torquey for the A4’s S-Tronic and the S4 needs to use an eight-speed ZF automatic. I guess the R8’s gearbox is stronger.
The rumors about the turbocharged inline-five cylinder engine, which is beloved by Audi fans, have been squashed by Audi as, according to C&D’s sources “A five-cylinder engine in the R8 would have created a strange internal competition between the entry-level R8 and the TT RS,” So no turbo five-banger for us. There are many fans who were also hoping for the 4.0 liter twin-turbocharged TFSI V8 engine that powers the RS6, but Audi felt that it would be too close in power, and maybe be even more powerful, than the 5.2 liter V10 in the R8 V10 Plus and Audi wants to keep that as the top-range engine.
So it’s official, the Audi R8 will be getting an entry-level model with a turbocharged V6 engine, making around 450 hp, and it will come in 2018. It’s likely that it debuts at an autoshow in early 2018, like Detroit or Geneva, and then is released later on in the year as a 2019 model. So we have to wait some time for it, but it should be worth it as it will give Audi something to compete with the much beloved Porsche 911 Carrera S.