Car Tests & New Models 5.7.2016 03:22 pm

Born on the track, built for the road: the all-new Audi R8

Audi R8. Picture: Supplied

Audi R8. Picture: Supplied

The naturally-aspirated V10 mid-engine guarantees tremendous performance, especially in the V10 Plus version sporting 449kW.

The all-new Audi R8 is the most powerful and fastest production Audi ever built. Designed for maximum dynamism in all of its technical aspects – from its Audi Space Frame (ASF) to its aerodynamics and newly developed quattro all-wheel drive. The naturally-aspirated V10 mid-engine guarantees tremendous performance, especially in the V10 Plus version sporting 449kW.

A powerful, high-revving mid-engine, a quattro drive system with freely variable torque distribution, systematic lightweight design with an ASF made of carbon-fibre-reinforced polymer (CFRP) and aluminium, and a dynamic chassis all make the R8 the sporty vanguard of Audi. The close cooperation between race car engineers, motorsport specialists and developers has led to significant performance gains – in both the road-version sports car and the R8 LMS race car that was designed simultaneously.

“The new Audi R8 V10 plus is the most powerful and fastest production Audi ever,” says Dr. Stefan Knirsch, Board member for technical development. “Motorsport has always been a solid component of our brand character. With the new R8, our engineers are transferring their entire accumulated racing expertise from the race track to the road. It also lets us reinforce our core brand values of dynamism, design and quality.”

Engine:

The new Audi R8 is available with two engine derivatives – with 397kW for the R8 V10 and 449kW  for the R8 V10 plus. Their maximum engine torque – 540Nm and 560Nm respectively – is available at 6 500rpm for both engines. Compared to the previous model, power has increased considerably, and the responsiveness of the high-revving (up to 8 700rpm), naturally aspirated 5.2-litre engine is now even more spontaneous. Like a race car engine, the V10 engine has dry sump lubrication. Its characteristic sound is now even fuller, with an optional sports exhaust system also available for order.

Efficiency has vastly improved over the previous model by up to 13% (33 g/km CO2). The new V10 engine was given effective efficiency technologies such as the COD (cylinder on demand) system, which shuts off one row of cylinders under low load conditions. Another is dual injection, which injects the fuel into the combustion chambers and induction manifold according to demand. When the driver takes their foot off the accelerator pedal at speeds over 55km/h, the new R8 goes into a coasting mode. When the car comes to a stop, a start-stop system deactivates the V10 engine.

In the sports car world, the new Audi R8 is right among the leaders in terms of its driving performance. The V10 accelerates from 0 to 100km/h in just 3.5 seconds, and it accelerates to a top speed of 320km/h. For the V10 plus, the fastest production Audi ever, the figures are 3.2 seconds and 330km/h, and it takes just 9.9 seconds to sprint from 0 to 200km/h.

Lightweight design:

In the top model, the R8 V10 plus, the unladen weight (without driver) is only 1 555kg, and the dry weight is a low 1 454kg. Playing a decisive role in this systematic lightweight design concept is the Audi Space Frame (ASF), which weighs just 200kg thanks to a new type of multimaterial construction. It comprises 79% aluminium and 13% CFRP.

The aluminium parts create a framework that integrates large CFRP components – the centre tunnel, rear wall and B-pillars. On the R8 V10 plus, add-on parts such as the sideblades and diffuser are made of CRFP, which complements the lightweight alloy exterior skin. Compared to the previous model, the multimaterial ASF has 40% greater torsional rigidity, and its acoustics and crashworthiness also get top grades.

As in a race car, the aerodynamic concept of the new Audi R8 is designed primarily for driving stability. Its central element is a long and wide diffuser in the underbody. On the R8 V10 plus, a total of 140kg of downforce is generated at top speed: 40kg at the front axle and 100kg at the rear axle.

Design:

The new Audi R8 is 4.42 metres long and 1.94m wide. Its proportions – with its cabin placed far forward, a long back and relatively short wheelbase – make the technology concept of the mid-engine sports car clearly recognizable at first glance. Characteristic design features of the previous model now take on a sharpened expression. The sideblades, for instance, are now interrupted by the continuous shoulder line that gives the sides a look of tension and excitement.

Large air inlets with vertical fins and LED headlights flank the wide, low-profile Singleframe grille that has a strong sculpted appearance. As an option, Audi can deliver LED headlights with laser spots that double the range of the high-beam headlights. This option also includes dynamic turn signals in front; they are standard in the LED tail lights. The look at the rear is shaped by the diffuser, the ventilation screen of the engine compartment and – on the V10 plus – a CFRP fixed wing.

The 11 exterior colours that are offered may be combined with any of the six versions of sideblades. The R8 V10 plus adds CFRP sideblades with a gloss finish as standard equipment. The Audi Exclusive program also allows customers to order any paint colour blended according to their wishes. Buyers can also choose any colour for the sideblades.

Controls & displays:

All important functions can be controlled without drivers taking their hands off the steering wheel or looking away from the road. The R8 sport leather steering wheel with multifunction plus, which is standard on the R8 V10, integrates two satellite buttons for starting and stopping the engine and for Audi drive select. The R8 performance leather steering wheel with four control satellites (standard on the V10 plus) offers one additional push-button with a turn wheel for the performance mode and another for controlling the exhaust system.

The digital display is also reminiscent of a race car – The Audi virtual cockpit, a TFT monitor with a 12.3-inch screen, presents all information in intricately rendered, high-resolution graphics. The driver can choose between three views. In the performance view, the rev counter is centrally located, and other indicators and gauges are arranged around it – such as for torque, power, oil temperature, tyre temperature, g-forces and lap times on the race track. Drivers can individually configure the gauges around the speedometer and rev counter according to their needs and uses.

Pricing:

The Audi R8 range will be priced as follows on introduction, including the standard 5 year/100 000km Audi Freeway Plan:

  • Audi R8 V10 quattro S tronic: R 2 630 500
  • Audi R8 V10 Plus quattro S tronic: R 2 970 000

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