Audi have jumped the gun a bit on this. Pictures and details of the second-generation R8 supercar have been released by Ingolsdalt and it shows a car that has evolved in its design rather than a full revolutionary change. The R8 keeps the low wide look of the original but with sharper lines. The signature sideblades remain, though now they’re split in two.
The R8 features a new front design similar to the new TT with a smaller grille and narrower lights. I particularly like how those slats on the intake vents align with the light graphics. Round the back it’s much less rounded than before. It looks sharper, wider, and more muscular than before. A new diffuser and taillight design highlight the changes to the rear. Actually, the rear design of the R8 reminds me a bit of the Noble M600. The new R8 will be available with either LED headlights or laser headlights. Dynamic lights are standard for the taillights and come with laser headlights.
Inside is where the most obvious, and in my opinion, best changes have been made. In short it is simply beautiful in there. Keeping with the minimalist changes to the exterior, Audi’s designers have gone for a fuss free cabin design that’s more driver focused. There’s no central screen, instead the new R8 adopts the same Virtual Cockpit in its instrument binnacle as in the new TT and Huracan.
A lot of the R8’s mechanics are shared with the Lamborghini Huracan. Thanks to the multimaterial Audi a Space Fram (ASR), this new R8 is 50 kilograms lighter than before. The R8 V10 Plus tips the scales at 1454kgs. The front, roof arch, and rear are made from aluminium while the B-pillars, central tunnel, and rear wall are are from carbon fibre reinforced plastics. Not only does all this help make it lighter but it’s also more rigid than its predecessor.
It’s clear looking at the R8’s technical details that it means serious business. Double wishbone suspension all round, a mechanical locking diff, and Audi’s magnetic ride all feature in this new R8. It can even send 100% of its power to the front or rear wheels if necessary. There’s a four-mode drive select programme which drivers can select from Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, and Individual settings. Audi have ditched hydraulic steering for an electromechanical setup, I’m guessing in favour of better fuel economy. It now has a stop/start function for Christ’s sake.
The R8 will be powered by developments of the current car’s 4.2-litre V8 and 5.2-litre V10. The latter engine will be available in two guises; the standard V10 produces 540bhp/397kW with 540NM if torque and the V10 Plus pumps out 610bhp/449kW with 560NM of torque. The claimed performance figures of the R8 V10 Plus are something else. 0-100 km/h in 3.2 seconds (3.5 for the standard V10), 0-200 km/h in 9.9 seconds. Top speed is 330 km/h for the V10 Plus and 323 km/h for the V10. That makes the R8 V10 Plus the fastest and most powerful road car in Audi’s history. This second generation car will only be offered with a revised 7-speed dual clutch S-Tronic gearbox. The 6-speed manual will no longer be available.
Audi have hinted that smaller turbocharged engines may be possible in the future for the R8. However two additional R8 variants have been confirmed; the R8 e-Tron and R8 LMS. Using what they’ve learned from the first R8 e-Tron project, this second-gen car has improved a lot. The battery capacity is now larger at 92 kWh and is possible to be fully charged in just 2 hours. A full charge is expected to last 450 kilometres. Power is rated at 170kW and 450NM of torque. The e-Tron is good for a 0-100 km/h time of 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 250 km/h.
If that doesn’t tickle your fancy then perhaps the R8 LMS might. It won’t be ready for delivery this year but the 1225kg weight and 585bhp/430kW should make this rear-wheel drive custom racecar worth the wait. Audi says it’ll be ready to compete in GT3 races for the 2016 season.
But from these first batch of photos what do you think of this new R8? Have Audi improved the R8’s design or are the changes a bit too conservative for a supercar? If you ask me I reckon it’ll be one of those cars that takes some time to grow on you. But this thing looks like it has potential and presence. Can’t wait to see one in the metal though.