Remember when Audi almost made a V12 R8?
It was a mad idea, but it didn't quite take off.
When you think of V12 performance cars, what do you imagine? Well, no matter what comes yo mind, you probably wouldn't have though of this. Two years after Audi's original version of their R8 supercar came out, they decided to try and do something different to the rest of the bunch. The world had definitely never seen a supercar like this. This beast may have only been a concept car in the end, but, despite this, it was still a bold statement from the company.
Let me fill you in on its main feature: the engine. As you can see in the picture above, the mighty 6-litre V12 planted inside this modified R8 uses the Volkswagen Group's famous Turbocharged Direct Injection (TDI). And if you're thinking that this car is powered by diesel, you'd be spot on. In fact, the R8 V12 TDI would have been the first diesel supercar ever, as well as the most frugal performance car the world had ever seen, if it was given the green light.
Credit: Car Magazine
The engine was so massive in comparison to the V8 that Audi had to make some major changes to the car. First, the grille was enlarged, with slatted vents under its angry LED eyes, larger intakes on the side, and even a NACA duct on the roof. All of this was just to aid cooling of the blazing twin-turbo V12. Storage and interior space also had to be sacrificed in order to fit it in, whilst the suspension and brakes were modified to handle an extra 300kg of weight.
This diesel monster was ready to devour roads, with 493 horsepower produced by the engine and a massive torque figure sitting at 738 lbs/ft. That's 1000Nm, available from just 1750RPM. If my dad's 2-litre diesel BMW 5-series is pretty punchy with just 295 lbs/ft of torque, I can imagine that this car hauls itself along the tarmac with a massive, brutal force. The R8 V12 TDI also shared some DNA with Audi's R10 TDI race car, the first ever diesel winner of Le Mans.
Credit: Car Pixel
I first found out about this interesting car about 7 years ago, in the 2013 Autocar Yearbook. When I first saw it, I was impressed by this aggressive-looking R8, but by that time, Audi had already announced that it wouldn't reach production. It made me somewhat sad to see this beast of a car be left behind like it was, but Audi didn't really have a viable way to make back the costs of re-engineering the existing car. What a shame, as this was one special machine.