After eight-years and countless road and race variants, it’s looking like we’ll be seeing an all-new Audi R8 at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show in March, and a fully-electric E-tron version will debut at the same time. That’s the word from our friends over at Car Advice, who recently spoke with Audi board member for technical development, Ulrich Hackenberg.

You might remember that an E-tron based on the first generation was all but a certainty for production after it debuted at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, but after that, everything went silent. Now we know it was because the car’s range was not up to Hackenberg’s standards. He now promises a 400-plus mile range for the new R8-based E-tron.

“First I did agree to stop such a project,” said Hackenberg to Car Advice about the 2009 E-tron concept. “The project had to be re-engineered because the range was 220 km (136 miles) – it was not enough. So what I made with the team was to continue to work on this, and we could realize between 400 (248 miles) and 500 (310 miles).”

For now, Hackenburg sees low-volume supercars as the best application for electric power, and explains that the R8 platform would be used as “a carrier for technologies.” He also expressed his desire to see some form of electrification in every future Audi, starting with the recently unveiled new Q7 and the next R8 and A8.

Hackenburg was tip-lipped about specifics for the next internal-combustion R8, but did have some bad news for fans of manual gearboxes, announcing it will only be available with a dual-clutch transmission and no manual option. He went on to explain that if it’s personal lap times you’re after, DSGs will beat manuals every time.

Click past the jump to read more about the next Audi R8 and R8 E-tron.

Why it matters

Tesla has set the bar pretty high for electric car range with the Model S and its 285-mile range. Despite Tesla being a much smaller company, Hackenburg recognizes the importance of keeping pace. “The big difference is firstly it is a very young brand, and is maybe not working on the know-how or the history,” Hackenberg continues, “but the team has placed together in a good way and they make interesting cars.”

Eight-years is a long time in supercar years, but the Audi R8 has kept up admirably thanks to the addition of a V-10 engine option, soft-tops, the hardcore R8 GT and an updated dual-clutch gearbox that came with the the mid-cycle refresh. Expect this trend of customization to continue with the new one, with the possible addition of a more efficient twin-turbo V-6.

Audi rightly sees a void in the market for a high-performance electric car. We’ve gawped at the straight-line performance of the Tesla Model S P85D and marveled at the futuristic looks and drivetrain of the BMW i8, but neither would seem to be a direct rival for the R8 E-tron. A full-electric supercar in the shape of an R8 and the torque of a coal mining truck could be a very desirable thing.

Audi R8

2017 - 2018 Audi R8 Exterior Spyshots
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Audi R8 E-tron

2016 Audi R8 E-Tron Exterior Spyshots
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Source: CarAdvice

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