Despite the massive level of interest generated by its debut at the Detroit Auto Show and the praise heaped upon it by the lucky few motoring scribes who got to drive it, Audi has allegedly halted development of the R8 V12 TDI and scuttled any plans to bring it to market.
Although the concept version performed well and its twin-turbocharged 6-litre V12 diesel engine never put a mechanical foot out of step, heat has apparently reared its ugly head as the main foe of the oil-burning supercar. Thanks to the snug-fitting V12 and its associated turbocharger plumbing, the amount of heat generated by that monstrous 368kW engine simply could not be effectively dissipated - and that's even after Audi moved the firewall forward by two inches.
The R8 V12 TDI was also crippled by the lack of an appropriate gearbox. The concept version was fitted with a six-speed manual from an A4 as a placeholder while a seven-speed DSG transaxle was developed. Otherwise bedevilled, Audi clearly wasn't keen on waiting for it to arrive.
The good news is that Audi hasn't completely abandoned its plans for a diesel supercar. The German automaker is now on the hunt for a suitable oil-burning V8 to plonk into the R8's rump: the most likely candidate being a tuned version of the 240kW 4.2-litre diesel bent-eight used by the A8 and Q7. Fear not, tree-huggers, the first-ever diesel supercar may yet become a reality.