News: Audi R8 - a traditionalist even without tradition

Refined in the second edition Audi his R8 sports car, however, remains true to the well-known concept: the coupé, which is now debuting at the Geneva Motor Show (March 5 to 15), continues to rely on a high-revving V10 mid-engine and all-wheel drive. The design, weight and handling were refined. Sales start in the summer at prices from 165.000 euros.

At first glance you can see that the second R8 is a completely new car. The typical mid-engine stature with a short front hood and long rear end is retained, but in detail the two-seater now looks a bit sharper. The enlarged grille, the evil-looking headlights and the more pronounced side air intakes ensure a shot more aggressiveness.

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Even under the rear fairing, it remains the same. Where competitors such as Mercedes-AMG GT and Ferrari 488 GTB now rely on small turbo engines for reasons of efficiency, the Audi continues to operate a 5,2 liter naturally aspirated ten-cylinder engine. Instead of a supercharger, a cylinder deactivation is intended to reduce thirst, and for the first time an intake manifold injection supplements the well-known FSI mixture formation directly in the combustion chamber.

The engine, which is also known from the sister model Lamborghini Huracan, is available in two output variants: in the provisional basic model, it comes to 397 kW / 540 hp, in the top version named V10 Plus to 449 kW / 610 hp. The maximum torques are 540 and 560 Nm, respectively. Even the weaker version sprints from a standing start to 3,5 km / h in 100 seconds, the stronger version is 0,3 seconds faster again. The top speed is 323 km / h or 330 km / h. The manufacturer specifies 11,8 and 12,4 liters as consumption values.

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The power course for the V10 engine is not the only change that affects driving dynamics. In the aluminum spaceframe there are now further carbon elements that reduce the dry weight of the R8 by 50 to 1.454 kilograms. New struts should increase the rigidity by 40 percent compared to the predecessor. The body also offers less air resistance and, above all, more downforce. And the all-wheel drive now has more play and thus meets the driver's play instinct. Instead of a visco clutch, an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch controls the power distribution and does so without any restrictions: The drive power can now be directed 100 percent to the front or rear axle if required.

The technical upgrade is not available for free. With at least 165.000 euros for the weaker V10 version, the new R8 is almost 8.000 euros more expensive than the previous model with 386 kW / 525 hp. With the V10 plus, the surcharge is even around 12.000 euros. If you want the sports car to be cheaper, you have to wait for the new entry-level version, which may replace the previously offered naturally aspirated V8 engine with a turbocharged six-cylinder. In contrast, the announced electric version R8 E-Tron with 340 kW / 462 PS is likely to be even more expensive.

Author: Holger Holzer / SP-X

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