Audi R8 Face-lift Retains Signature Side Blade, Drops Pounds

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By most accounts, the Audi R8 has been a homerun for the automaker with supercar performance wrapped in captivating sheetmetal. A refreshed model is on the way and, thankfully, the visual changes appear to be minor, though there could be some significant upgrades under its skin.

Our spy photographer recently caught a couple R8 testers, though it’s unclear why one is sporting a significant amount of camouflage and the other is essentially naked. Most of the changes take place up front where revised headlights appear to have newly styled LED daytime running lamps. The mostly untouched side still showcases the R8’s distinctive side blade feature placed behind the doors. Minor changes to the taillights appear to round out the visual changes.

What can’t be seen from these photos, however, is the R8’s lighter curb weight. According to an earlier Motor Trend report, the refreshed model is expected to be 220 pounds lighter thanks to carbon fiber materials. Perhaps the bigger question, however, are changes to the powertrain. The R8’s clunky single-clutch automatic transmission, which was acceptable when the model launch years ago, is now its weakest link. A dual-clutch unit is in the works, but it’s unknown if it will make it to the refreshed model or the next-gen R8.

Also unknown is if the 4.2-liter V-8 (430 hp, 316 lb-ft of torque) will carry over or if Audi will use the new 4.0-liter, turbocharged V-8 powering the S6, S7, and S8. That V-8 is tuned produce 414 hp and 406 lb-ft in the S6 and S7, while the flagship S8 gets a power bump to 512 hp and 479 lb-ft. The latter, however, would put it in the same territory as the current 5.2-liter, V-10 engine, rated at 525 hp and 391 lb-ft (560 hp, 398 lb-ft for the GT model).

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