Two things we've been able to count on for the past seven or eight years are rumors of the Audi R8's death and rumors of an electric R8 successor. The former is finally fact: When the Audi R8 exits stage left into the underworld at the end of this model year, it will be the first time since 2006 that the Ingolstadt automaker has lacked a two-door sports car flagship. The latter continues to be rumor that appears to be inching closer to fact. A report in Autocar last year cited an automaker exec as saying that "work is well under way on an electric successor to the R8." This year, at the Munich Motor Show, Autocar spoke to technical chief Oliver Hoffman, who provided the detail that future "iconic cars – sports cars and so on ... will use systems and modules out of the [Scalable Systems Platform]."
He's referring to the SSP architecture that's said to eventually support 80% of products across Volkswagen Group brands, replacing the MLB, MMB, MQB, and MSB internal-combustion architectures and the battery-electric J1, MEB, PPE architectures. The modularity engineered into SSP will permit brands to tweak the bones to serve a brand's product philosophy, as Porsche is doing for its super-luxe SUV due in 2027 and codenamed K1, and to create specialty models. Audi is said to be looking at the specialty case for its iconic cars. Note the plural "cars," as well — an electric TT successor might follow the electric R8 in the same manner.
It's probably a good time to manage expectations, though. Audi insiders have been noncommittal for years about what a reborn R8 might look like, and made it clear the car won't be called the R8, a name created for the Le Mans Prototype racer that hit the track in 1999 and won five runnings of the French race. The electric halo concepts we've seen have channeled the current R8's vibe in only the most roundabout ways, if at all, like the PB18 E-tron from 2018 you see above. So it's probably more accurate to say — or continue to say — that Audi's working on battery-electric sports cars that will fill the slots occupied by the R8 and TT. Autocar said the top dog in development is "staying true to the two-door performance coupe formula," intended to be the sharpest-handling and most powerful car at any Audi dealer. About the only firm connection between present and future is Audi's desire to build the new halo in the same Böllinger Höfe factory assembling today's car with similar hand-built techniques.
2027 is a long time away in our hectic world, though, with global regulations and product plans changing on a yearly basis if not quicker. Next year's Q6 E-tron commences Audi's next-gen onslaught, the sedan the first Audi designed on the Premium Platform Electric (PPE) architecture. The first Audi on the SSP isn't expected until 2027, but Hoffmann plans to see a portfolio of SSP-based models on the market by the end of the decade, which could include the R8 successor.
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