Audi Created an Economical R8 With Turbo Five-Cylinder Engine and RWD, Then Terminated the Project

Photo of author

By Car Brand Experts

The Audi R8 stands as one of the esteemed supercars in the industry and is soon to be discontinued. Over its two generations, it has consistently been driven by the illustrious 5.2-liter Audi/Lamborghini V10 powertrain, with an appearance of the 4.2-liter Audi V8 in the initial generation. Recent revelations suggest that Audi entertained the idea of integrating the turbocharged inline-five engine from the Audi RS3 into the R8, paired with a manual transmission for potential production.

Although the proposal was intriguing, it remained a concept and did not progress to production. This interesting detail emerged in a conversation between Porsche eFuels Project Manager Marcos Marques and esteemed British automotive journalist Steve Sutcliffe.

According to Marques, Audi had advanced sufficiently in developing the concept that they had estimated a peak torque figure for the inline-five R8 variant, surpassing the torque output of the V10 engine. The 2.5-liter inline-five, known in Audi circles as the 07K, is renowned for its ability to deliver formidable power with minimal adjustments. 

The 2.5-liter Audi inline-five. <em>Audi</em>
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • reddit
  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr

The 2.5-liter Audi inline-five. Audi

To my amazement, Audi planned to combine the inline-five engine with a manual gearbox and rear-wheel-drive configuration. Although Audi had previously manufactured a manual TT RS, that model featured a transverse layout. It was likely that the prior six-speed manual transmission would have been adapted for the longitudinal drivetrain of the R8. Interestingly, the V10 and inline-five engines are closely related, originating from the same engine family, with distinctions primarily in the cylinder head ports. 

We contacted Audi for verification, and a spokesperson merely dismissed the story as a “rumor.” The spokesperson also clarified that the gossip pertained to the first-generation R8.

A manual, rear-wheel-drive, turbo inline-five R8 could have been the standout supercar of the era. Sadly, the project was abandoned years ago, cementing the R8’s future as a V10-powered supercar with a dual-clutch gearbox. What a disappointment.

Have a lead? Reach out via email at

Leave a Comment

For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!