• Jun 4, 2007
When the topic of conversation at the Autoblog bunker shifts to the R8, it's simply a matter of time before one of us brings up the idea of a diesel version of Audi's new supercar. With the recent success of the TDI R10, Audi has both the technological prowess and the racing creds to make a serious play towards being the first automaker to offer an oilburner in an exotic. According to Car and Driver, it's not only plausible, it's undergoing development.

C & D breaks down the engine choices into " the good, the bad and the ugly," with the good going to the 4.2-liter TDI (326 HP and 561 lb.-ft. of torque), the bad being the 3-liter V6 (233 HP and 369 lb-ft. of twist) and the ugly as the twin-turbo V12 found in the R10 racecar. The latter is making close to 500 HP and a kidney-punishing 738 pound-feet of torque, which because of its high weight and intricacies would make it a poor choice.

Notable absent from the mag's lineup is the 5-liter V10 found in the Touareg that produces 308 HP and 550 lb-ft. of stump-destroying torque, but considering that the 4.2-liter TDI makes more power and more low-end grunt, we understand why it was left out of the mix.

If Car and Driver's sources are to be believed, expect the TDI R8 to come to market in 2009. That, along with a rumored Targa version supposedly due that same year, would cause the R8 line to swell beyond feasibility. Time will tell, but we like what we hear so far.

[Source: Car and Driver via the German Car Blog]


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  • 20 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      The V10 is only two valves / cylinder.
      The V12 is a 60 degree Vee.
      If the V6 diesel went into the R8, it would not come anywhere near the states.
      • 7 Years Ago
      If by UGLY, you mean PERFECT.

      If I'm driving an R8 I want obnoxious engine noise and obscene amounts of speed and twist, bi-turbo V12 sounds spot on!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Those of you who think the V-12 would be loud need to do a bit of reading about the engine.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Diesels don't make for good sportscar engines. Low-revving, and no top-end. That does not sound like fun to me.

      A proper sportscar engine revs high, and the power builds as the revs climb. And it has to have a lusty engine note, something that Audi's diesels do not have. Ever been to a race with the R10's running? You can barely hear 'em.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "The rumor is that there's no practical way to cram the honking big V-12 into the engine bay."

      Really? What rumor? Last interview I read with Audi's head of diesel design indicated the v-12 fits just fine, they just need to work out cooling issues... so I'd be interested who's putting that rumor out as it goes right against what Audi has publicly said as quoted in interviews with Fourtitude, et-al.

      "Why is the V12 the poor choice.. shouldn't it be the best.. it pushes out the most torque and horsepower??"

      It would be the best, bar none. It manages to move the 5300lb Q7 to sixty in 5.5 seconds while managing 20 mpg. Now Imagine that in the R8, a car some 2000lbs lighter. That's the main issue I think, you'd be imbuing the R8 with 500hp, 730lb ft of torque, something around 25mpg... so, keeping in mind that Porsche is attempting to gain full control of VW, do you really think they'd want an Audi R8, which in 4.2l guise does a great job of providing an alternative the Carrera 4s pretty much in every, with 20 more HP, and 270 more lb ft of torque then the 911 turbo? I'm guessing they'd not be too keen on such a car.

      Though, if anyone was going to put a V12 TDI, again which fits in the R8, into a supercar, it would be Audi, they love drawing cohesive links between their road going cars and lemans cars when possible.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Hrmm, not much real "info" there other then pure speculation.

      More discussion about the R8 with actual "owners" discussing it here:

      http://www.r8talk.com
      • 7 Years Ago
      "How about offering a TDI in EVERY model they sell? It won't require any engineering effort, as the case is already true in the EU. Just bring them over!"

      Actually, it would require effort, a lot of it. Again it might be wise for most of you to read interviews with Audi's higher ups in North America and over in the Diesel effort. The exact reason they haven't offered it in every car is because it would cost them quite a bit to engineer a North America compliant engine, they're considering a V6 as it would have the most potential across the range, but they also indicate they sell a pretty small amount of cars here compared to europe so it makes the effort in terms of R&D rather tenuous at best.

      "None of the comments have really addressed the real reason why - in the opinion of C&D "

      Actually, I did. I mentioned the V12 has no issue really motivating a 5000+lb Q7 and the torque would be more then substantial to motivate the thing in the R8.

      "I believe the V10 is a better base design with a lot of potential."

      Oddly it would appear Audi doesn't given the current specs of their 4.2l TDI and the amount of time and money they've invested in the V12.

      "I think an upgraded V10 TDI (With common rail) would be the best option. If Audi can make that engine put out 400+ hp."

      I really don't think we'll see audi doing a whole lot with that power-plant, it's been barely used thus far and not at all within the audi range. I think it's pretty obvious they're focusing on the 4.2l and the V12 for now.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Good for Audi.
      Perahps this will be an ambassador for diesel powered automobiles in order for more diesel engines to be utilized in everyday American family vehicles....there are more reports and speculation of more manufacturers planning to offer diesel engines in the near future...they will fill a much needed niche in order to help reduce oil consumption in this country...perhaps a small reduction but at least there is the potential to reduce consumption of oil by putting more diesel on the American highways.
      • 7 Years Ago
      To those who say that Porsche won't allow that: Porsche has no reason to stop the development of the R8 if they get a controling share in VW (which they initiall denied, but rumors persist). VW for one saw it fit to develop the R8 along with the similar Gallardo, although only with a V8 and not a V10 (which may be because of price considerations). And the VW Phantom and Audi A8 were also pretty similar in size and shared engines, although Phantom didn't fulfil the expactations, it sold much better in europe than in the US. My idea is that even if priced closely, the fans of lamborghini, porsche, audi will not go cross shopping, these are 3 totally different brands, although they may offer similar performance. And besides, whats good for Audi will be good for VW, and from there good for Porsche. From your logic, the first thing Porsche will do is to kill the TT, (which competes with the cayman and boxster), Q7 and Touareg (which share platforms with the Cayenne), probably the future A7 (which would compete with the Panamera). Heck, if VW was about keeping things exclusively to one brand, we would have never seen A3, Seat Leon, or all the Skoda models, and they are all sold in germany along with the Golf. I just don't see Porsche changing that to "protect" the 911.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I don't understand...you said, "with the good going to the 4.2-liter TDI (326 HP and 561 lb.-ft. of torque), the bad being the 3-liter V6 (233 HP and 369 lb-ft. of twist) and the ugly as the twin-turbo V12 found in the R10 racecar. The latter is making close to 500 HP and a kidney-punishing 738 pound-feet of torque, which because of its high weight and intricacies would make it a poor choice." . Why is the V12 the poor choice.. shouldn't it be the best.. it pushes out the most torque and horsepower??.. or am I just reading this wrong??... someone please fill me in..
        • 7 Years Ago
        The rumor is that there's no practical way to cram the honking big V-12 into the engine bay.
      • 7 Years Ago
      None of the comments have really addressed the real reason why - in the opinion of C&D - the V12 TDI is an impractical (their exact words in the article) choice: That is weight. That engine has a cast iron crankcase, and with the necessarily beefy drivetrain to handle over 700 lb.ft. of torque, it is a huge barge-load of added mass for the R8 to have to be carrying around. Figures have been published putting the engine alone at 1200 pounds.

      Personally, I have wondered about the wisdom and economic feasibility of having so many engine configurations between VW and Audi after such small markets. I believe the V10 is a better base design with a lot of potential. The 100 HP/L barrier has been broken even within VAG, which means 500 HP is entirely possible from the V10 with up-to-date technology. It would be shorter (V10 vs V12 with same cylinder diameters and bore spacing), lower (90-degree vee vs. 60-degrees) and lighter (aluminum crankcase rather than iron) than the V12. Perfect for the R8.
      • 7 Years Ago
      TDIMeister

      I think C/D said that the V12 TDI is in the 730 pound range in their Q7 V12 TDI preview. Which makes sense. But this puts it about 300 pounds over the V8 FSI engine weight. Plus I am sure the gearbox for the V12 TDI is hefty. So the R8 V12 TDI would be at least 4,000. The R8 V8 FSI is 3,540 according to C/D.

      I think an upgraded V10 TDI (With common rail) would be the best option. If Audi can make that engine put out 400+ hp.
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