Audi has finished construction at a new assembly facility adjacent to its Neckarsulm, Germany, factory that currently builds the R8 supercar, the company said in a statement. Once the facility is ready, production of the Audi R8 will begin there in mid-2014.
The move allows Audi to consolidate all of the R8′s production stages under one roof, which the company says, “will enable us to optimize our production process and further expand our small-scale production.” The larger implication, however, is that the move likely coincides with the launch of the next-generation Audi R8.
The current Audi R8 (pictured) has been in production since 2007, and despite various changes over the years and a revision for 2014, it hasn’t been significantly overhauled since then. We expect an all-new Audi R8 will arrive next year, riding on the MSB-M modular platform that will be shared with the Lamborghini Gallardo’s replacement, as well as potential Porsche supercars. (MSB-M is for mid-engine cars with rear- or all-wheel drive.)
Reports suggest the next Audi R8, which will be twinned with the Lamborghini model, will continue to use V-8 and V-10 engines, albeit with even more power, and a choice between six-speed manual and seven-speed dual-clutch transmissions. The new car should be lighter than the current R8, and it will be slightly longer and wider than the Lamborghini that is built on the same PL724 chassis.
Switching to building a brand-new model always requires a healthy investment in revamping a factory, so it would be more than convenient if Audi began building the new R8 at the same time as it moved its assembly lines in Germany. In other words, news of the Neckarsulm plant expansion is simply covert news that Audi is getting ready to start assembling its next-generation all-wheel-drive supercar.