Senior board members confirm Audi is working on a diesel version of its new R8 Porsche-fighter in the aftermath of its historic 2006 Le Mans win with the diesel-powered R10 racer.
The engine is the same as that just launched in the Q7 and introduced in the A8, a 6.0-liter V-12 with 500 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque. That’s slightly less power than the Lamborghini-derived V-10 version will have, but way more torque. With the right gearing, this means the diesel could be the quickest of the R8s.
The R8 TDI hasn’t been approved for production yet, but if it gets a green light, it’ll be unique among sports cars, although Mercedes-Benz displayed Bluetec diesel SL and SLK concepts at the 2005 Geneva show.
Audi insiders admit the diesel R8 has a couple hurdles to overcome. Though compact, the V-12 diesel is bigger and heavier than the V-10 and V-8 gas engines. Another issue is whether the diesel particulate filter trap would fit between the R8′s mid-engine and its rear bumper. But if the R8 TDI is okayed, look for it in Audi showrooms no earlier than model-year 2009.