Audi is getting ready to launch a new version of its R8 supercar, but before that happens, the R8 will receive a range of mechanical updates. Car Magazine reports that Audi will update the R8 in late 2012, then introduce a new version of the supercar in 2014.
The update for 2012 will bestow the R8 with the latest version of Audi’s MMI infotainment system, as seen in cars like the A6, A7, and A8. The car will also trade its six-speed single-clutch automated transmission for a seven-speed dual-clutch unit. Meanwhile, power from the 5.2-liter V-10 engine will climb from 525 hp to 540 hp. Car also says that Audi will launch a limited-run, electric RSe version of the R8 in late 2012; it may be based on the plug-in hybrid architecture previewed by the e-tron concept cars.
For 2014, Audi will launch a new version of the R8 that wears an evolution of the current model’s exotic styling. The R8’s distinctive sideblades will vanish, and the overall proportions could become sleeker. Audi also will replace some parts of the aluminum structure with carbon fiber, potentially dropping 220 pounds from the total weight of the 2014 R8. At the same time, Car reports that the body will become 13 percent stiffer. After the coupe is launched in 2014, the revamped R8 Spyder will arrive for 2015.
The next-gen R8 also will lose the option for a manual transmission, with only dual-clutch unit available, but should gain tech toys like a head-up display and variable-intensity LED headlights. The base engine will likely be an evolution of the current 430-hp 4.2-liter V-8 making around 450 hp, while the V-10 will see its power output climb as high as 550 hp. Audi will eventually replace the V-10 with a turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 engine -- also installed in the Audi S8 and new Bentley Continental GT -- tuned for as much as 600 hp.
Car says that the new R8 and the next-generation Lamborghini Gallardo (due in 2013) will share an Audi-designed platform called MSS (modular sports car system). The subsequent iteration of the Audi R8, however, will be built on a new Porsche-designed architecture called MSB-M (modular rear-wheel, mid-engine).
Source: Car Magazine