Our spy photographers in Ingolstadt have been hot on the case following a new R8 that’s under development with a few tantalizing details.
Sporting some strategic camouflage, Audi is hiding a facelift that we expect to see for the 2020 model year. A revised bumper eschews the vertical winglets on the air intake and adds a little bit of bodywork under the headlights.
The crease under the passenger doors, meanwhile appears to sharpen a bit over the current model, and out back the diffusor is a little less aggressive, despite the V10 Plus spoiler.
Most intriguingly, this R8 has oval RS tailpipes, which could easily lead you down a path of conjecture and assumption. So let’s head down the path.
The oval tailpipes, along with the less-aggressive diffusor, has led some to suspect that this is the fabled R8 V6. Apparently unperturbed by Audi’s consistent denial, the rumors say that this will bear the RS5’s 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 making something like 450 hp or more.
A new twist on the rumor, and one that we hadn’t encountered until now, is that the car may be powered by Audi’s 5-cylinder TT RS engine making more like 400 hp.
SEE ALSO: Gallery: Audi R8 with Performance Parts
The problem with these rumors is that no matter how good those engines are, the people making the claims seem to assume that the R8’s chassis is as flexible as the rest of the Audi lineup. Whereas the MQB and MLB platforms are designed to accommodate numerous engines, the R8 was only really designed to fit a V10 (The Huracan has no other engines that I’m aware of), so re-engineering it to fit either of those engines would be expensive.
Seeing as how Audi has shown itself to be unwilling to spends gobs of money on the R8—a third generation, after all, is currently not part of Audi’s future plans—we feel that either option is unlikely.
What this R8 does appear to have that intrigues us is front tires that are narrower than the rears. This, to us, suggests that this oval-piped R8 is part of the RWS series—a line of cars that Audi Sport has expressed a desire to expand.
With the V10 Plus’s rear spoiler, we would hazard to guess that this is a R8 V10 Plus RWS, though, admittedly, the less-aggressive diffusor would be a reasonably strong argument against that, since rear downforce would likely be at a premium.
Whatever the case, despite Audi’s hesitations about the R8, this test car does at least prove that the R8 will be around for a few more years, and that’s something to celebrate.
A version of this story originally appeared on Fourtitude.