The 2.9-litre engine will first appear in the new Porsche Panamera.
The engine is the product of a joint venture between Porsche and Audi to develop a family of modular engines for high-power applications, which also includes a V8. The V6 will first be seen in the new Porsche Panamera 4S, in which it produces 440 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque.
Over at Audi, the engine is expected to power the next-generation RS4 and RS5, as well as the anticipated RS Q5. If the V6 does indeed find its way into the R8, it would replace the old 4.2-litre, naturally-aspirated V8 that has been dropped from Audi’s lineup. Thus far, the second-generation of the R8 supercar has only been available with a 5.2-litre, naturally-aspirated V10 motor.
Audi has not yet indicated how much power the V6 will produce in its cars, but has confirmed it will be offered with a range of power outputs. In its ultimate guise, the old 4.2 V8 churned out 444 hp.
The passing of that V8 is lamentable. It was hugely charismatic, and Jeremy Clarkson even went so far as to call it “one of the great engines” in his review of the 2006 RS4. But emissions rules and engine capacity-related taxation in China have forced Audi to pension it off.
Audi also has a slightly larger, 3.0-litre, single-turbo V6 motor that powers the latest S4 and S5.
There has been much speculation that Audi would eventually add an entry-level R8, but thoughts on exactly what it would look like varied. Audi hasn't commented on Autocar's report.