[UPDATE] In an e-mail to Motor1, Audi TT and R8 spokesperson Liza Kellner confirmed the R8 is still in production:
"It is true, the last Audi R8 will leave the production line at the end of the first quarter of 2024. This marks the end of the production of an iconic sports car at the Audi Böllinger Höfe site in Neckarsulm. The all-electric Audi e-tron GT will continue to be built at the Böllinger Höfe.
As part of our strategy, which has the clear objective of electrifying the entire product portfolio, we have decided to withdraw the R8 from the program at the end of the first quarter of 2024.
The statement that the R8 will be discontinued at the end of 2023 dates back to 2019. From this point of view, it is not surprising that the actual end date has changed by a few weeks."
2023 marked the end of the line for Audi's junior sports car, the TT, and the big-boy R8 was supposed to bow out shortly thereafter. However, that didn't happen. Although the initial plan was to end production of the V10 supercar before the turning of the calendar, the naturally aspirated machine lives on.
Speaking with German business paper Automobilwoche, Audi confirmed the R8 is still in production at the Böllinger Höfe factory where it also assembles the RS E-Tron GT. That's despite the fact the R8 V10 GT RWD serving as the model's epilogue was introduced back in October 2022. Knowing that the end is nigh for the flagship Audi Sport model, it seems wealthy customers are rushing to buy a new one.
Audi R8 Coupe V10 performance RWD at Laguna Seca
Indeed, sales of the R8 doubled last year in the United States. Americans bought 631 cars in 2023, an increase of 101 percent compared to the year before when only 314 R8s were sold. Audi hasn't said yet how many cars were delivered globally in 2023. The figure should be disclosed on March 19 during the meeting with investors regarding the 2023 financial results. In the meantime, we can tell you that Audi sold 1,097 in 2022 and 1,679 in 2021.
The new plan is to sunset the R8 at the end of March 2024, a delay of about three months compared to the initial schedule. We've reached out to Audi for further confirmation.
A direct replacement isn't on the agenda since the Volkswagen Group is killing the venerable 5.2-liter V10. Yes, that also means the Lamborghini Huracan successor will lose the ten-cylinder engine. In its place, the Raging Bull intends to put a plug-in hybrid powertrain based around a downsized combustion engine.
Audi Sport isn't abandoning the idea of having a dedicated range-topping model. Officials are already dropping hints an electric R8 could happen one day on the VW Group's upcoming Scalable Systems Platform (SSP). The new hardware can be adapted for "iconic cars – sports cars and so on." Perhaps this also means the TT will be back one day? We'll see.
Audi R8 E-Tron
Audi R8 E-Tron
Let's keep in mind Audi has already made an electric R8. However, it was a commercial flop as the R8 E-Tron was discontinued after fewer than 100 units were sold. It came out at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show and was available for only about a year in Europe where it carried an eye-watering sticker price of €1 million. The rather obscure electric supercar wasn't available at dealers since you had to drop by Audi's headquarters to place an order.
As a matter of fact, it wasn't even included in the configurator, so without proper marketing, it was doomed to fail. Of course, the exorbitant price tag didn't help its cause either. Ideally, Audi will have a better strategy in place for a new electric R8, one that we're hoping won't cost seven figures. The sleek PB18 E-Tron hinted at the prospects of an R8 without a combustion engine, although that concept is already nearly four years old.