When Audi first debuted the R8, it skyrocketed the brand into super-stardom. Before the Audi R8, the four-ringed brand was only really known for luxury and performance sedans. The R8 changed things, though, pushing the brand’s image into the same realm as Porsche and Ferrari. Seeing Robert Downey Jr. drive the R8 in the first Iron Man film sent customers rushing Audi dealerships to get a glimpse at the mid-engine supercar in hopes to buy something from the same brand that could make such an exciting car. That’s the very idea of a halo car. Today, the R8 is still Audi’s halo car but Audi Sport seems to think there be room for a new halo car. Just not any time soon.
According to Automotive News, Audi Sport boss Stephan Winkelmann claims that Audi will be looking into making a hypercar, something with even more performance than the R8. Though, it won’t come until Audi Sport expands its lineup. Audi Sport is planning on creating a more well-rounded lineup, including some RS SUVs. But a hypercar that sits atop the R8 in the performance food chain is something that Winkelmann does see a demand for.
“I’m very keen on working on this in the future,” he told Automotive news at The Quail in Pebble Beach last week. “I think not only the brand deserves it, but there is a demand outside, and the [customers] are looking into it.”
Before that, though, Audi Sport must expand its lineup to compete with its competitors. At the moment, Mercedes-AMG and BMW M both have far more vehicles in their lineups than Audi Sport. Their lineups are also far more diverse, with more SUVs and soon-to-be electrified cars. So Audi Sport needs to first become more competitive with its competition before it moves on to a very high-cost, low-volume hypercar. So before a new R8-beating Audi, at least one more RS SUV must come.
“This is important because this is one of the things which is allowing you to have a worldwide presence,” he said of performance SUVs. “The segment is growing, and we have good synergies there, and we also have fantastic cars in terms of design and performance.”
He also spoke about high-performance hybrid vehicles, which are inevitable in the Audi Sport lineup. “You need the range, but you also need the excitement factor,” he told Automotive News. But there will likely be a new halo car that will sit atop the Audi R8. “If you want to build up,” Winkelmann said about the Audi Sport lineup, “you have to have always something on top.” So a halo hypercar is coming. It just might take awhile.