Sports Cars Are Dying: Audi Kills TT, R8 May Be Next


Sports Cars Are Dying: Audi Kills TT, R8 May Be Next

This is, rather unfortunately, the world we live in. Sports cars are fast becoming a thing of the past, but it's not like we didn't see this coming. Recession after recession, oil crisis after oil crisis, and sports car sales figures have been on the down and down for the last two decades or so. People lament the death of cars like the Honda S2000 and Mazda RX-7, but these are also the same people who can't and won't put money down on a new sports car today.

And that ultimately means that the business case for sports cars is weaker than ever. Manufacturers don't care as much about the second owner of a vehicle, if they can't even find the first owner to take a car home. Audi is one such manufacturer, and they recently announced that this current generation TT would be the last. According to a report by Bloomberg, they are also considering axing the R8, which definitely spells bad news for other brands.

Granted, Audi is in a rather difficult financial position given their mishaps and missteps these last few years, but the European Union will see to it that gas-guzzling sports cars are taxed or regulated out of existence. The ever important carbon credits are more crucial than ever in order to avoid steep penalties, and developing and selling electric vehicles is only one half of the equation. The more sinister and less popular other half is limiting the number of vehicles on sale that tip the scales against a company.

In the pursuit of these lofty environmentally friendly ideals, Audi will have to burn some serious cash. They want to roll out five all-electric models, along with seven plug-in hybrid vehicles - all in the next two years. That's not a lot of time to develop a car, and it will definitely take a significant portion of their operating budget in order to re-tool existing factories or build new ones to accommodate these more sophisticated vehicles. 

That being said, Audi is planning to build sporty electric cars. By the inherent design of an electric vehicle, it isn't as easy to give it sporting qualities as there's quite a lot of weight to deal with, but as technologies develop and packaging improves we will begin to see more aggressive options with more exciting capabilities. The E-Tron comes to mind, as does an all-electric TT. Whether local infrastructures around the world can develop quickly enough to support these cars will be something we will have to hope for.