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A new report indicates that a V6-powered entry-level Audi R8 model will debut in early 2018, with overseas sales beginning in the middle of the year.

According to sources who have spoken to Car and Driver, the Audi R8’s new entry-level engine will be a more powerful version of the direct-injection 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 that’s currently doing service under the bonnet of the new Audi S4.

In the luxury sedan and wagon, the force-fed V6 motor develops 260kW of power and 500Nm of torque. It’s expected that in the R8, the V6 will be kitted out with two turbochargers and churn out around 335kW.

At present, the second-generation R8’s base level 5.2-litre V10 is capable of delivering 397kW of power and 540Nm of torque. The more powerful V10 Plus version has 449kW/560Nm to its name.

Above and top: Audi R8 V10.

As far as transmissions go, the new V6 R8 will be offered with the same seven-speed dual-clutch unit that’s used in the V10 models. Drive will go to all four wheels via a rear-biased all-wheel drive system.

Top speed will reportedly be left unrestricted and is said to be around the 305km/h mark. The current entry-level R8 V10 is capable of a 0-100km/h time of 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 319km/h.

Rumours have previously circulated that Audi would use the turbocharged 2.5-litre five-cylinder from the TT RS for a new entry-level R8. One of the magazine’s sources discounted that idea because it would create “strange internal competition” between the top-spec TT and the base R8.

For the first-generation R8, Audi employed a naturally aspirated V8 as the car’s entry-level motor. With that engine now consigned to the dustbin of history, it was determined that a twin-turbo V8 would have power and performance figures too similar to the V10’s.

MORE: All the latest Audi R8 news and reviews