We first saw the R8 V12 TDI concept in Detroit where we fell in love with the silver car not for its over-the-top look-at-me styling, but because of what was under the glass engine cover. For its first European appearance, Audi has painted the car red and tacked Le Mans on to the end of its title. We're still concentrating on that engine.
It's powered by the same twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter diesel V-12 this time around, rated at 500 hp and a mega 738 lb-ft of torque. That engine also powers the 2009 Q7 V12 TDI that dropped in Geneva, so we know Audi can mass produce this astounding oil burner. The crazy-torque TDI engine is based on the 5.5-liter from the Le Mans-winning R10 TDI race car, hence the concept's new name.
Besides the paint, there are no physical changes to the concept. The Le Mans car has all of the air flow aids from before, including the front splitter, bigger grille, widened side blades, rear spoiler, and NACA duct up top. Some of these changes break up the lines of the production car, but we trust that Audi would clean up the front end before bringing a diesel R8 to reality.
The gas-fueled R8 has already been given the Automobile Magazine stamp of approval and we're ready to get some indelible ink if Audi adds a torque monster like the V12 TDI.
Click the links below for high-resolution R8 V12 TDI Le Mans images, as well as coverage of the Q7 V12 TDI and Q7 Coastline concept.