This Cancelled Audi Supercar Had Diesel Power

By automotive-mag.com 3 Min Read

We recently said goodbye to the R8, but for a few years, Audi toyed around with the idea of making another dedicated performance machine. Between 2010 and 2013, the Four Rings worked on a sports car concept under the “Skorpion” internal designation. We discovered the intriguing supercar at the August Horch Museum in Zwickau, Germany.

The idea behind the Skorpion was to effectively engineer a road-going version of the Le Mans-winning R18 endurance race car. Yes, the one with a diesel engine. The aero work was supposed to take after Audi’s DTM cars of those days. Audi says this aborted supercar would’ve been positioned above the second-generation R8, which was being developed around the same time. The R8 Mk2 went into production in 2015.

Multiple powertrains were considered for the Skorpion, both gasoline and diesel engines with outputs varying from 400 to 550 horsepower. Audi’s engineers explored rear- and all-wheel-drive versions, along with a hybrid setup pairing an ICE with an electric motor. However, it never came to be as the German brand pulled the plug on this exciting project.

Audi must’ve been serious about launching the Skorpion at some point, considering Car and Driver reported back in April 2013 about the car going into production. Rumor has it the plan was to produce just 333 units, therefore making it just as exclusive as the R8 GT and the A1 Quattro. It was supposed to use the R18’s platform with a carbon fiber monocoque reinforced with an aluminum honeycomb.

Back in the day, it was believed the Skorpion would use the race car’s 3.7-liter V-6 diesel with an electric motor, making a combined 700+ horsepower. The ICE would’ve driven the rear wheels while the e-motor would’ve powered the front axle, enabling an electrified Quattro setup.

As crazy as the idea of a diesel supercar or hypercar may seem, Audi had done it before, albeit only in concept guise. The 2008 R8 V12 TDI had a twin-turbo 6.0-liter V-12 oil-burner with 493 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque. It even came with a six-speed manual gearbox, routing the diesel muscle to a Quattro all-wheel-drive system. This setup enabled a sprint to 62 mph in 4.2 seconds and a top speed of over 186 mph.

Much like the Skorpion, the R8 V12 TDI was left on the cutting room floor as well. However, its engine went on to power the bonkers Q7. Audi has hinted at a new flagship performance car, which is likely to take the shape of an electric R8. Hopefully, it’ll be more successful this time around since the old R8 E-Tron was a commercial flop, with fewer than 100 units sold.

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