It started as a concept over a decade ago when Audi decided to enter the outlandish supercar space with an offering. The German giant’s ambition seemed optimistic, but not far from reality when the 2003 Le Mans Quattro concept was unveiled and was quick to transform into what we know today as the first generation Audi R8 supercar. Mixing the best of eccentricity of a supercar with the luxurious practicality of an Audi, the R8 was born and loved by the world over. Now, the Ingolstadt folks unveiled the next generation R8 that hit the stage at Geneva Motor Show this year, and here is everything that you must know about the newest supercar that still enjoys its roots of practicality.
Instead of going back to the drawing board, Audi has been smart to reinvent the new generation R8 on an extensively updated platform. Sharing its bones with the Lamborghini Huracan, the 2016 Audi R8 is a based on a Modular Sports System (MSS) but has been tweaked for more space and comfort. The new R8 is smaller than the outgoing version with a marginal difference that has helped the supercar achieve more dramatic proportions while also maintaining a lower centre of gravity. The new model has also been on the treadmill more regularly shedding 50 kgs compared to its predecessor and uses lightweight aluminium space frame in its construction while the B-pillar, central tunnel and rear firewall have been made out of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP).
On the outside, the 2016 Audi R8 loses its curves by massive amounts, but not too much to make the older model look from prehistoric. A knife seems to have been an inspiration for the new R8 as the sharp lines and angular design language indicates. Most noticeably, the curvaceous front has been upgraded with a trapezoidal single grille flanked by massive air intakes while the LED headlights look suave as ever and can be upgraded to optional Laser headlights as well. The famous side blade has now been split into two elements. At the rear, there is a huge diffuser at the bottom along with sharp LED tail lights and twin exhausts with an explosive aural note.
For now, Audi is offering only the 5.2-litre atrocious naturally aspirated V10 engine that has been stretched to produce 540 HP of power on the standard version while the V10 Plus gets power boosted to 610 HP. The practical supercar is capable of doing the nought to 100 kmph run in just 3.5 or 3.2 (V10 Plus) seconds while your right leg can push the speedo up to 323 or 330 kmph. All that power though is sent to the road via a 7-speed S Tronic transmission to all wheels via the famed Quattro four-wheel drive system.
If you are one of those who like sticking the rear out occasionally, Audi says that 100 percent power can be transmitted to the front and rear axle on demand. You also get the driving options including Dynamic and Performance with the latter designed to push handling to all its limits across different terrains. For the occasional intracity trips, you can choose the Comfort option to keep calm and enjoy the ride. The new R8 also comes with unique water-cooled front differential and an electromechanical steering wheel with variable-ratio functionality. There is also the option of the magnetic ride suspension on offer while the standard double wishbone suspension has been tuned to offer motorsport like performance.
The new Audi R8 rides on the 19-inch wheels as standard, which comes with track friendly race rubber straight from the factory. Buyers also get the option to upgrade to 20-inch wheels as per their liking. On the inside, the familiar interiors have been spruced for a well-appointed cabin and features the virtual cockpit first seen in the TT, but with more tech wizardry added. You also get a race-style flat-bottom steering wheel which also houses the start-stop system. Audi says that the cabin has been designed to resemble the one in a race car, which is super cool by all standards.
We’ve always loved the R8 and the new generation model has just increased our affinity towards the practical supercar. This generation will also see the R8 e-tron come to life with 455 HP of power and 920 Nm of torque and will have an overtly impressive range of 450 kms. Then there is also the R8 LMS race car that will be competing the Le Mans next year; while the R8 Spyder is also in the offing and will be announced at a later date. Sadly, the V8 motor and manual transmission are no more available on the supercar as lap times are the priority for customers. Finding it drool-worthy and can’t wait to get your hands on one? Welcome to the club my friend.