Audi decided it was done teasing us and finally pulled the veil from the 2016 R8 today ahead of its in-person debut at the Geneva Motor Show next week. The second coming of Audi’s mid-engine supercar promises to offer improved driving dynamics and better fuel-efficiency over the outgoing model thanks to an improved V10 engine and a lightweight aluminum chassis, among other enhancements.
From launch, the mid-engine supercar will be available in two states of tune. The standard car comes with a 5.2-liter V10 producing 540 horsepower and 398 lb-ft of torque, however a range-topping 610 horsepower V10 ‘plus’ model with 413 lb-ft will also be available. The more powerful version will enable the car to accelerate from 0-62 mph in 3.2 seconds before hitting a top speed of 200 mph. In the words of Audi technical development boss Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, this is “the most powerful and fastest series production Audi of all time.”
All versions of the new R8 will come with Audi’s permanent Quattro all-wheel drive system. The system “enables completely unrestricted and fully variable distribution of the drive torque to the front and rear axles,” so in other words, 100 percent of the engine’s torque can be sent to either the front or rear wheels. Smokey drifts should be easily executed thanks to a standard rear locking mechanical differential.
Despite receiving a raft of new technology and equipment, the R8 tips the scales at 3,205.5 lbs, making it 110 lbs lighter than its predecessor. This improvement was enabled by the multi-material Audi Space Frame, which uses aluminum and carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) to reduce weight while also improving structural rigidity by 40 percent. Audi says it used CFRP in the B‑pillars, the central tunnel and the rear wall, while cast aluminum was used in the front and rear sections and the roof arch.
Double wishbone suspension sits at all four corners, which may be complimented by optional magnetic ride shock absorbers. An all-new electromechanical power steering system is standard, replacing the hydraulic system of the outgoing model. Audi is also offering a dynamic steering system, which adjusts the steering ratio based on vehicle speed and other settings in the Audi drive select dynamic handling system.
Speaking of the drive select dynamic handling system, it provides the driver with a choice of four modes, comfort, auto, dynamic and individual. The system can adjust engine characteristics, steering, the seven-speed dual-clutch S tronic transmission and quattro drive system, as well as optional extras like magnetic ride suspension, the flaps in the exhaust and the dynamic steering system. An optional performance mode (standard on V10 plus models) allows the driver to select from dry, wet and snow handling modes, which will adjust the suspension, steering, traction control system and more.
The package is all wrapped up in a newly designed body which Audi describes as “flat, wide and muscular.” The new R8 is slightly wider than the outgoing model at 6.4 ft, and has grown by about 1.6 inches in length. A new version of Audi’s single-frame grille is present, which merges nicely into sharper, more aggressive-looking laser headlights. The side blades make a return from the outgoing model, however they’ve now been split in the middle, creating separate upper and lower sections. They can be finished in the same color as the car’s body or a contrasting silver or black finish, like the oprevious model. The blades can also be finished in naked gloss carbon fiber, as can the front and rear diffusers. On V10 Plus models, a carbon fiber reinforced plastic fixed rear spoiler is standard.
Inside, the new R8 is typical Audi fare, however it boasts several exciting new features over its predecessor. Standard are newly designed sport seats, but R8 bucket seats are available as optional extras (once again standard in V10 plus models.) The new multi-function steering wheel gives the driver easy access to important controls such as the contbutton for the optional performance mode, a button which controls the flaps in the exhaust and buttons for adjusting the 12.3-inch virtual cockpit display seen in other Audis, such as the TT.
The world will get its first in-person look at the all-new R8 when it makes its first public appearance at the Geneva Motor Show next week, at which point some additional information, such as U.S. pricing, may become available.