Audi released full details on the next generation of its ever-popular R8 supercar, letting us feast on performance and specification details for three model variants, including the long-rumored all-electric R8 e-tron.
The hierarchy of the first Audi R8 generation was simple in its division; the entry-level engine was a 420-hp naturally aspirated V-8 engine, with the top-of-the-line R8 powered by a 525- or 542-hp 5.2-liter V-10 engine (V10 versus V10 plus). For this new Audi R8 (which shares its platform with the All-Star-winning Lamborghini Huracan), the performance gap between the base and uprated models is considerably narrower. The entry-level R8 utilizes a naturally aspirated 5.2-liter V-10, producing 540 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque, cracking off 0-60-mph runs in a scant 3.5 seconds before reaching a top speed of 201 mph. The range-topping Audi R8 V10 plus packs 610 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque from the same 5.2-liter V10, breaching the 60-mph mark in swift 3.2 seconds. Top speed rings in at 205 mph.
Both engines are paired to Audi’s seven-speed dual-clutch S tronic gearbox, sending power to a revised quattro all-wheel-drive system.The new system can send 100 percent of the power to the front or the rear wheels if need be, although the default function is a rear-wheel-drive mode. As it stands right now, there is no manual transmission option, likely putting the previous V-8 model’s glorious gated shifter to rest. Carbon-ceramic brakes are optional on the base R8 V10 and standard on the R8 V10 Plus. For the first time on an R8, the standard 19-inch wheels can be swapped out for optional 20-inch wheels from the factory.
The R8’s boost in performance and speed is thanks in part to extensive use of weight-saving materials. Carbon-fiber-reinforced plastics form the interior structures and drivetrain tunnel, while the space-frame and exterior panels are made from lightweight aluminum. All of these weight-saving measures result in a 110-lb reduction over the previous-generation Audi R8, with the top-of-the-line Audi R8 V10 Plus weighing in at 3,428 lbs. With all of these revisions and high-strength materials, the new R8 is 40-percent more structurally rigid.
The new R8 comes in at 14.5 feet long, 6.4 feet wide, and 4.1 feet high, with an 8.7-foot wheelbase, contributing to an overall track increase of 1.4 inches. A bold, angular new design adds aerodynamic upgrades to the already capable supercar, with a deployable rear wing and fully integrated under-chassis aerodynamic effects. A fixed carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic rear wing is standard on the V10 plus model, while optional carbon fiber add-ons such as side blades can be expected, as well.
For all of the performance the new R8 offers, it packs just as much user-friendly technological prowess inside. The interior has been redesigned with a cleaner layout, more steering wheel controls, and the futuristic all-digital instrument and infotainment cluster we’ve seen in the 2016 Audi TT. Illuminating the way forward is Audi’s fancy LED laser headlights (which remain illegal under U.S. regulations).
Audi also revealed details on the production Audi R8 e-tron, its highly anticipated all-electric variant. Power totals an impressive 456 hp and 679 lb-ft of torque, with a 0-60 time of 3.9 seconds toward its top speed of 155 mph. Pricing has not been announced for the e-tron yet, but we know the car will be available for order later this year. An all-new Audi R8 LMS variant is hitting the circuit in 2016 as well, competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and various GT3-spec series.
Look for the official debut of the next-gen Audi R8 at the upcoming 2015 Geneva auto show. While the US pricing has not been announced yet, the next R8 will cost €165,000 for the base R8 V10, and €187,400 for the R8 V10 plus.