Audi diesel-electric supercar project ‘still alive’

Audi R18 hybrid
5 Mar, 2013 2:59pm Tom Phillips

Le Mans-inspired diesel-electric Audi supercar "deserves to be built"

Audi’s plan to take on the McLaren P1, Ferrari LaFerrari and Porsche 918 Spyder with its own diesel-electric hybrid supercar is ‘still alive.’ That’s according to the firm’s Board Member for Technical Development, Wolfgang Durheimer.

He told us: “When I arrived at Audi in September 2012, I had chance to look into all projects going on and have my input [including the development of a halo supercar above the R8]… analysis is being done and we will give the next update on which projects will go further next September at the Frankfurt Motor Show.”

The project was inspired by Durheimer watching Audi’s 11th Le Mans win, with its latest success being with the diesel-electric hybrid R18 prototype racer (pictured).

“The idea is still alive – I’m fighting for this idea as I think it would have the right effect on our brand perception… I think this deserves to be built,” he added.

A diesel-electric supercar would be developed in-house at Audi, using the firm’s experience of running the R18 race programme. “We have an R&D budget that is fairly high, with 6,000 engineers working on new ideas every day.”

He acknowledged that “the market for super sports cars is fairly limited”, especially with the additions to the market of the P1, LaFerrari and 918, but “in terms of Audi’s brand image and brand perceptions – I think we need to do it.”

Durheimer also added that a potential 1,000kg ultra-lightweight version of the next Audi TT was still a possibility. “The Audi TT is a very emotional car… this lightweight model is a car I’m interested in… we have the engines to do it and the technology.”

However, he did appear less sure of whether the lightweight model would make production than the diesel-electric supercar.