The next-generation Audi R8 line-up could ultimately include an engine smaller than a V8, Audi technical chief Ulrich Hackenberg has revealed at the Geneva motor show.

The new R8, due in 2015, is based on the “same general layout” as the Lamborghini Huracán, according to Hackenberg, but with wider tracks and a longer wheelbase.

The V8 and V10 engines will carry over from the current R8, the V10 being closely related to the Huracán's new 5.2-litre powerplant. Like the Huracán, the R8 will be all-wheel-drive and only be offered with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

“The engine and gearbox will be the same, but with different applications,” said Hackenberg. “The suspension layout and geometry is different so we can tune different characteristics.”

Some time during the car’s lifecycle, the R8 “will need a turbocharged engine” according to Hackenberg. “In some countries, you need to reduce the capacity of engines also and we need to find solutions for these markets. So we’re looking at smaller engines, yes.

“It’s a big step from 10 cylinders to four though – there are some numbers in between that we could look at.”

Sharing underpinnings with the Huracán means the R8 will get an innovative rear firewall and centre tunnel made from a single carbonfibre moulding, weighing 50-60kg. The rest of the components are largely made from aluminium.

That structure also features in the R8 e-tron, a model that was axed but is now close to being resurrected by Hackenberg, with a decision due "within weeks". "It was cancelled due to the range and a business case," he said. "We’ve sorted out the range – now more than 450km – and improved all the running gear for efficiency."

Hackenberg denied that there had been significant delays to next-generation versions of key models like the A4, Q7 and R8 since he took the job of technical boss last year, but conceded that the models have “had minor changes to make the design more precise inside and out”.

Read more Geneva motor show news.