Audi is already hard at work on the next generation of its R8 supercar, which will bow as a coupe in 2014 before the roadster appears in 2015. Among the changes for the new Audi R8 will be an increase in horsepower, a reduction in weight, and a slate of fuel-saving technologies.
The 2014 Audi R8 will be based on the same platform as the next Lamborghini Gallardo, which should debut in 2013. Before that, however, Autocar reports that Audi will unveil a refreshed for the R8 this year -- probably at the Moscow auto show in August. Changes for the 2012 update include a new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and a revised infotainment interface.
Autocar reports that the engine lineup for the next-gen R8 will stay the same, with a 4.2-liter V-8 in the base car and a 5.2-liter V-10 for the range topper. Each mill will receive more power, bringing totals to about 450 hp for the eight-cylinder and 550 hp for the V-10. At the same time, the Audi will become more fuel-efficient thanks to the adoption of engine stop-start, higher-pressure direct injection, cylinder deactivation, and a "sailing" function that allows the engine to idle when the car is decelerating. With all these in place, the new Audi R8 will reportedly be able to meet even-stricter Euro 6 emissions requirements.
Also helping economy is the fact that the new R8 will be significantly lighter than the current model. Both it and the next Gallardo employ a greater mix of carbon fiber in the aluminum bodyshell, much of which will be shared between the cars; the Audi reportedly uses 62 pounds of lightweight carbon, dropping overall curb weight at least 132 pounds compared to today's R8. Its Lamborghini platform-mate, the 2013 Gallardo, will be lighter still, as its wheelbase and length will be shorter than that of the Audi R8.
Audi also will reportedly continue to offer its high-performance R8 GT model (pictured) with the new generation. The car again will use a 5.2-liter V-10, but power will climb from 560 hp to at least 580 hp. Along with an even-lighter body, the next R8 GT will be positioned to fight the likes of the Ferrari 458 Scuderia and Porsche 911 GT3. It won't arrive until 2016 or later.
Finally, Autocar explains that Audi will not move to downsized and turbocharged engines, like many of the R8's competitors. The company apparently believes that having a supercar with instant throttle response and a high-revving nature sets the R8 apart from many of its forced-induction rivals.