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Audi R8's future engine


With a car so meticulously designed and engineered for light weight; why would they expend extra poundage and materials in creating the cavity; making it larger than the 309kW/430Nm 4.2-litre V8 powerplant it carries?

The obvious answer is that another engine is on the way, and we could start salivating about the possibility of it being a thumping V10; sourced from stablemate Lamborghini. However Audi is not about to confirm that.

But the R8’s former head of technical development, and now head of vehicle dynamics, Dirk Isgen; who is understandably proud of the mid-engine beast can’t bring himself to deny a higher-powered version could be on the way.

“I can’t say we’re not thinking bigger,” he grins.

“There is some investigation going on, but nothing has been definitely decided.”

However his estimation of the car’s potential suggests that the plan all along has been to introduce a bigger engine if the car is a success.

“The car is capable and the engine bay is large enough,” Isgen says.

“There would be no structural changes necessary. And any transmission changes (to cope with bigger wads of torque) would be easy. The gearbox has some potential.”

While Isgen won’t confirm straight out whether a second engine would have more pots or simply more capacity and power, his hint of “not a couple more cylinders” suggests it’s the latter, which rules out the Lambo 10.

And he is also ruling out the foreseeable future; developing a road version of the diesel engine that took the R8’s racing parent to glory in the Le-Mans 24 Hour.

“At the moment this is not really a question for Audi,” Isgen says.

“Diesel is very important for Audi in passenger cars.

“But I think a lot of sports car drivers are not ready to accept a diesel engine. However this will change if customers’ minds change. We could think about it then, but it’s not on Audi’s agenda now.”

Okay then. Let’s shelve that idea if we have to. And in the meantime we’ll be happy to just settle for the bigger petrol engine.