The Audi R8 elevated the ‘four-rings’ brand to the supercar segment. Initially, the R8 was offered with a mid-mounted 4.2-liter V8. It was later replaced by a 5.2-liter V10, which was shared with Lamborghini. However, there was another version of the R8 that was being evaluated.
According to Marcos Marques, Project Manager of Porsche eFuels, Audi had developed an R8 with a turbocharged 5-cylinder engine from the RS3, paired with a manual transmission.
Marques stated Audi was able to extract serious performance out of the 2.5-liter inline-5 with just a few modifications. It is said to have generated more torque than the V10. The motor was supposed to be mated with a 6-speed manual gearbox with power going to the rear axle.
Audi canned the turbo 5-cylinder R8 plans, and we can see why. The R8 was designed to compete with supercar heavyweights like Lamborghini and Ferrari. The V8 version was undoubtedly a reasonably priced offering with decent performance, but a “baby R8” with a 5-banger would’ve been a mistake.
The popular Audi R8 is now transitioning to an pure-electric powertrain. The R8 GT final edition marks the end of the V10 era.
Source: The Intercooler