Audi has reportedly killed off the R8 e-tron after teasing us with the car for more than six years. This is going to annoy a lot of people.
The Ingolstadt marque kept updating the electric R8 and we have had false dawn after false dawn. Indeed, Audi actually took the car to the 2015 Geneva Motor Show and put 100 cars on sale to the early adopters for an eye-popping $1.1 million each.
The latest incarnation of the car had two electric motors that produced the electric equivalent of 456bhp and 679b/ft of torque. It hit 60mph in 3.9s, it had a T-shaped battery pack for optimized weight distribution and it looked fantastic.
So why haven’t we got this car? Honestly, we’re pretty ticked off about it too.
Audi might just have bigger fish to fry right now with the upcoming SUV and a whole range of cars that will sell in larger volumes. But there’s almost certainly a deeper reason and it probably comes down to the fact that the electric R8 simply didn’t hit the performance benchmarks required.
It isn’t cheap to be Tony Stark’s company car
The company has ploughed a huge amount of money into developing this car across two consecutive Audi R8 models. It paid a vast amount to put the car in the Iron Man franchise and took it on a world tour.
The battery technology is solid, but not groundbreaking, and the company has not claimed outrageous performance figures. The car was pretty much ready to go, which is why it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Could weight be the problem?
The car is heavy. In fact, it’s just the right side of 4000lb.
The torque should mean it is strong in a straight line. It’s rear-wheel-drive, though, and it may just be that the car couldn’t come close to the petrol car on track. If the engineers simply couldn’t tame that weight and make the car a serious performer then the Audi top brass may have killed it for fear of embarrassment.
It’s pure speculation and it could be 100% wrong, but it’s the only theory we can come up with that really fits. Because the R8 e-tron could have been a big seller and a real left-field rival to the Tesla Model S with a prestige badge and a sporting look.
The price is a nonsense
Insiders have claimed that it simply couldn’t charge $1 million for an R8 and that is the reason for its demise. But if Audi cannot convert a car that it already makes into an EV and charge less than $1 million for it then it cannot make a new EV for that money either. It’s insanity to suggest that the Ingolstadt company could not make an R8 EV for less money when the economies of scale came into play. So we’re not buying this as a reason. At all.
Still, it looks like the R8 is dead, for whatever reason, and now all we can really do is mourn this loss.