Outwardly, the tweaks are small but easy to spot in the shape of a wider but flatter singleframe grille, the three slits underneath the bonnet that premiered on the A1, a new front splitter, reshaped vent for the diffuser, newly designed twin oval exhaust outlets with outer cowlings and the option of a three-piece engine cover made out of plastic or carbon fibre.
Aside from the air filter being relocated within the engine, the R8 also comes with the option of the black styling package, two new colours; Kemora Grey and Ascari Blue, the option of having the side blades finished in carbon, Mythos Black or Kendo Grey and three hues for the soft-top roof of the Spyder, black, brown and red.
Unlike in Europe, the South African-spec R8 eschews the standard 19-inch wheels for 20-inch matte bronze or titanium Audi Sport V-spoke alloys with the option of anthracite finished five double-spoke wheels of the same size. Further changes underneath includes retuned power steering, a tweaked Electronic Stabilisation Control system, three new modes for the Audi Drive Select system; Dry, Wet and Snow and the option of having the front axle stabiliser made out of carbon fibre reinforced polymers and aluminium to reduce weight by two kilograms. Also differing from the Europe, the R8 is only offered in range-topping Performance guise, meaning the standard inclusion of the carbon ceramic brakes.
Inside, the interior changes are mostly reserved for materials with the option of diamond stitched Nappa leather sport seats in white, black or red and a View button on the steering wheel for the 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit Display instrument cluster. Standard equipment consists of a tyre pressure monitor, reverse camera, heated seats, dual-zone climate control, the MMI Navigation Plus system integrated into the instrument cluster and folding electric mirrors.
With the end of the entry-level model as indicated, the Performance, previously called the Plus, derives motivation from the normally aspirated 5.2-litre V10, which produces an unchanged 449 kW versus the 456 kW offered in Europe. It does however come with more torque in the shape of 540 kW compared to 520 kW.
Somewhat surprisingly, the top speed has been not been affected by the power drop, with Audi claiming a V-max of 331 km/h for the coupe and 329 km/h for the Spyder. The 0-100 km/h sprint is a tenth down though, with the coupe taking 3.2 seconds and the Spyder 3.3 seconds. As before, drive is routed to all four wheels via a seven-speed S tronic gearbox with no plans afoot to bring the rear-wheel-drive model to market.
Officially available from 1 April, both the coupe and Spyder come standard with a five year Audi Freeway Plan with respective pricing of R3 336 000 and R3 592 000.