Like a cheating girlfriend, Audi has decided to trickle-truth us rather than spilling the beans on the second-generation R8 all at once. First, we saw spy images of the car, which was followed up with leaked images, an official teaser photo and now, an early de-briefing for select members of the media.
According to Top Gear, the second-generation Audi R8 will launch with the choice between a 540 horsepower V10 with 399lb ft of torque, or a 610 horsepower V10 ‘Plus’ with 412lb ft of torque. The R8 Plus models will also receive lighter ceramic brakes as standard, among other performance and visual enhancements. On both models, power will be channeled to all-wheels through Audi’s seven-speed dual-clutch ‘S-Tronic’ transmission.
One of the biggest changes Audi applied to the new model over the outgoing R8 was electro-mechanical steering. The four-rings traded in the old R8’s hydraulic system in favor of an electric rack with optional variable steering, which Audi development driver Frank Stippler says has reduced steering angle, making the car feel more precise. Passive dampers are standard on both cars, while Audi’s three-mode adaptive magnetic dampers are optional.
Also contributing to the more precise feel of the new R8 is its lower dry kerb weight of 1500 kg (3,306 lb), made possible through the use of aluminum and carbon fiber. If you’re left searching for more precision, a new ‘Performance’ mode with wet, dry and snow settings will tailor the car’s systems to present driving conditions, adjusting power and torque output, throttle response and more. The car is also now 40 percent stiffer and sits 30mm lower than its predecessor.
How did Audi demonstrate all these important improvements to the media? By drifting the new R8 mercilessly around the Ascari circuit in Spain with them in the passenger seat, of course. Watch Top Gear’s video below, and be sure to check back as more info on the new R8 becomes available.