Automotive Intelligence - the web for automotive professionals and car enthusiasts
August 08, 2012
Audi offers the R8 in the two solid colors Ibis White and Brilliant Red, in four metallic shades and with five pearl effect / crystal effect coatings. For the R8 V10 plus a matt effect color is available as an exclusive feature. The side blades on the Coupé come in eight colors, while the soft top of the R8 Spyder comes in black, red or brown.
The R8 embodies Audi's full expertise in ultra-lightweight design. The aluminum body with the Audi Space Frame (ASF) weighs only 210 kilograms (462.97 lb) on the Coupé, and 216 kilograms (476.20 lb) on the Spyder. The unladen R8 V8 Coupé with manual transmission registers just 1,560 kilograms (3439.21 lb) on the scales, while the open-top sports car weighs 1,660 kilograms (3659.67 lb). The R8 V10 plus, available only as a coupé, brings the needle to 1,570 kilograms (3461.26 lb). Adjustable bucket seats with glass fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP) chassis, less use of insulating materials, special light alloy wheels and chassis components, including the standard ceramic brakes, as well the CFRP add-on parts at the body all contribute to lowering the weight.
On the Audi R8 Spyder the lid on the soft top compartment and the side parts are also CFRP. The elegant, lightweight fabric top, with its largely aluminum and magnesium linkage, is the crowning touch to the ultra-lightweight design. The top opens and closes electrohydraulically in 19 seconds, and during driving at up to 50 km/h (31.07 mph). The heated window pane in the bulkhead between the passenger and engine compartments stands apart from the soft top; the window can be retracted and extended by a switch and also serves as a wind deflector. In case of a pending rollover, two strong, spring-tensioned sections shoot upwards from the seats.
As in car racing, the aerodynamics of the Audi R8 has been optimized for propulsion. The underfloor contains five NACA nozzles, along with two diffusors in the front section, which increase the propulsion at the front axle. The drag coefficient is 0.35 or 0.36 depending on the engine version and body shape; the frontal area measures 1.99 m2 (21.42 ft2).
The engines are assembled by hand. The V8 with 4,163 cc displacement and the V10 with its 5,204 cc displacement are captivating, naturally aspirated heavy-duty engines packed with power. The interplay with the new 7-speed S tronic has reduced CO2 emissions by up to 22 grams/km (35.41 g/mile) and decreased the sprint from zero to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) by three-tenths of a second. Both engines are compact and comparatively lightweight. The crankcase is an aluminum-silicon alloy; the bed plate structure provides high rigidity. The dry-sump lubrication allows low positioning of the engines; the pressure recirculation pump operates load-dependently, for increased efficiency.
The FSI direct fuel injection system allows a high compression of 12.5 : 1. Four adjustable camshafts control the valves. At low load and engine speed, flaps in the intake ducts bring about a precise, cylindrical rotation of the incoming air. The exhaust system is designed for low back pressure. The two tailpipes contain flaps; they open during sharp acceleration to produce a fuller sound.
The 4.2 FSI engine produces 316 kW (430 hp) at 7,900 rpm, with a torque of 430 Nm (317.15 lb-ft) between 4,500 and 6,000 rpm. The unit accelerates the R8 Coupé with S tronic from rest to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 4.3 seconds and to a top speed of 300 km/h (186.41 mph) (with manual transmission: 4.6 seconds and 302 km/h (187.65 mph)). For the R8 V8 Spyder the corresponding values are 4.5 and 4.8 seconds, respectively, and also 300 km/h (186.41 mph). On average the R8 V8 quattro as a coupé with S tronic consumes 12.4 liters of fuel per 100 km (18.97 US mpg).
The V10 engine provides a torque of 530 Nm (390.91 lb-ft) at 6,500 rpm, with 386 kW (525 hp) at 8,000 rpm. Its crankshaft is a common-pin design, yielding alternating ignition intervals of 54 and 90 degrees. This design combines maximum rigidity and low weight, while at the same time generating the unique car racing-like sound of the V10.
The Audi R8 V10 Coupé with S tronic accelerates from zero to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 3.6 seconds and reaches a top speed of 314 km/h (195.11 mph). With manual transmission the values are 3.9 seconds and 316 km/h (196.35 mph). The R8 V10 Spyder with S tronic completes the standard sprint in 3.8 seconds and has a top speed of 311 km/h (193.25 mph) (with manual transmission: 4.1 seconds and 313 km/h (194.49 mph)). The average consumption rate of the R8 V10 Coupé with S tronic lies at 13.1 liters of fuel per 100 km (17.96 US mpg).
The new top model of the model series is the Audi R8 V10 plus. Developing 404 kW (550 hp), its maximum torque is 540 Nm (398.28 lb-ft) at 6,500 rpm. With S tronic, the R8 V10 plus, available only as a coupé, catapults from zero to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 3.5 seconds and achieves a top speed of 317 km/h (196.97 mph); the average fuel consumption rate is 12.9 liters per 100 km (18.23 US mpg). The key data with manual transmission are 3.8 seconds, 319 km/h (198.22 mph) and 14.9 liters (15.79 US mpg).
Two power transmission systems are available for the overhauled Audi R8. The manual 6-speed transmission, with its lever leading into an open stainless steel gate, is standard on the V8 and optional on the V10. The new 7-speed S tronic – optional on the V8 and standard on the V10 – spaces the gears closely in a sporty mode; the final drive position has a wide gear ratio. The dual clutch transmission can be shifted at the selector lever or at the steering wheel paddles; a sports mode is alternatively available. At the press of a button the launch control manages starting at an increased initial engine speed and with optimal tire slip.
The new 7-speed S tronic, with a three-shaft layout, is less than 60 centimeters (23.62 inches) in length. Two multi-plate clutches lying behind one another (a new feature), serve two mutually independent sub-transmissions; gears are shifted directly as the clutches alternately open and close. Gearshifting occurs practically without interruption of tractive power within hundredths of a second, and so dynamically, smoothly and comfortably as to be hardly noticeable.
The Audi R8 is a sports car with excellent practical skills. The front luggage compartment has a capacity of 100 liters (3.53 cubic ft); the Coupé accommodates an additional 90 liters (3.18 cubic ft) behind the seats. The long wheelbase of 2.65 meters (8.69 cubic ft) affords generous space. The interior conveys a car racing atmosphere on the luxury level; its dominant feature is the monoposto – the long arc curve running around the cockpit in the area of the driver. The flattened rim of the optional, more contoured R8 leather-covered multifunction sports steering wheel bears the new R8 badge, which also appears at the gearshift or selector lever, at the door sill trims, in the instrument cluster and on the start screen of the on-board monitor.
The R8 V10 and the R8 V10 plus come with the navigation system plus and the Bang & Olufsen Sound System as standard on-board features. Other options for all R8 variants include a high-beam assistant, a stowage package, various travel case sets, a cell phone preparation, with belt microphone and voice control, and the parking system plus with reversing camera.
The overhauled Audi R8 will roll off the line to European customers at the end of the year.
The base price is EUR 113,500 for the V8 Coupé, and EUR 124,800 for the Spyder. The V10 variants are listed at EUR 154,600 and EUR 165,900 respectively, while the R8 V10 plus costs EUR 173,200.