First Look: 2011 Audi R8 GT

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Chassis-wise, the R8 GT features a few changes from the standard R8 V10, but perhaps not as many as one would think. A manually adjustable coilover suspension has been fitted, capable of lowering the car 0.39 inches, while increased camber front and rear make the GT more eager to turn-in. Nineteen-inch forged wheels feature, 8.5-inches wide in the front and 11-inches wide in the rear, are of the twin five-spoke design and are fitted with 235/35 and 294/30 tires, respectively. Optional are 305/30 tires and special wheels out back, while ‘Cup’ ultra-performance tires are also found on the options list. Carbon ceramic brakes, optional on the R8 V10, are standard equipment on the GT and boast a near-20-pound weight savings over steel discs, in addition to a reduced propensity to fade. Red anodized front brake calipers are six-piston aluminum affairs and are unique to the GT, says Audi. The R8 GT’s ESP stability control system has also been fine-tuned to better suit the car’s more aggressive nature.

Exterior enhancements are an important part of limited-edition supercars and several have been introduced to the Audi R8 GT. Functional improvements include a fixed carbon fiber rear wing in place of the standard electronic version, saving weight and providing more downforce. A new front splitter is also made of carbon, as are the smaller side mirrors, and the front grille features matte titanium grey and matte black accents. Curved carbon composite flics at the nose corners are said to improve front axle downforce, while out back the diffuser, hatch vents, and wheel well vents are all redesigned for greater efficiency. The result is that while the R8 GT maintains its 0.36 drag coefficient, downforce is increased significantly. Other defining cosmetic features of the GT are standard LED headlights and taillights, aluminum side mirror bases, and distinct ‘GT’ badges on the front fenders.

Inside the GT’s cabin, luxury waltzes with cutting edge motorsports-inspired style. Amidst swathes of black and dark gray alcantara, carbon fiber, and aluminum, a 465-watt Bang & Olufsen stereo integrates with Audi’s MMI infotainment display. Optional equipment includes alcantara seat covering with the ‘R8 GT’ logo, lightweight carbon-framed seats, extra carbon trim, seatbelts in orange, red, or gray, a multifunction steering wheel, and CFRP door sill trim illuminated in red. This is no 911 GT3 RS, to be sure. But it does seem to strike a reasonable compromise between usability and performance.

Audi is offering a number of other options too, including many with performance in mind. A ‘race package’ includes four-point harnesses in either black or red, a bolt-in roll bar in the same colors, a fire extinguisher, and a kill switch for the battery. Taken a step further, another package offers a full roll cage and a rotary lock for the four-point belts. Going the other direction, comfort packages include a full leather interior, advanced cell phone integration with belt-mounted microphone, and a cruise control system.

Audi has set German pricing for the R8 GT at €193,000 ($255,000) – approximately €50,000 more than the entry price for the current R8 V10. Will any of the 333 Audi R8 GTs slated for production arrive in the U.S.? That’s not currently known, but considering the brand’s skyrocketing North American sales, you shouldn’t be at all surprised when one blows by at your local track.

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Nice, but whats the point? The Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 weights 50lbs less and cost 50K less

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