Paris Auto Show — 2012 2012 Audi R8

Jul 26, 2012
Author: Evgeniy Sherstobitov
Photos: Audi
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Audi has made its R8 high-performance sports car even more attractive and dynamic. The R8 V10 plus is a new top model in the model series, with a totally new 7-speed S tronic. The LED headlights and the new rear indicator lights with dynamicized display are standard equipment on all variants.

4.44 meters (14.44 ft) long, 1.90 meters (6.23 ft) wide and only 1.25 (4.10 ft) meters high (Spyder: 1.24 meters (4.07 ft)) – the broad Audi R8, developed and built by quattro GmbH, stands firmly on the road, ready to pounce. New details lend its design even more acuity. The single-frame grille with the beveled upper corners is painted high-gloss black, with horizontal chrome inserts adorning the struts on the V10 variants. The bumper is also new, with the air inlets bearing three crossbars each. As an option, Audi installs a front splitter made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP). The splitter is standard on the new R8 V10 plus.

LED headlights with a new technology are now standard on all variants of the Audi R8. The light-emitting diodes for the high and low beams have been placed above and below the strip-shaped daytime running lights, which are specially actuated to serve as indicators. In addition, static turning lights are integrated in the headlights.

The housings of the outside mirrors and the side blades, the lateral air inlets on the Coupé, are made from CFRP on the new R8 V10 plus top model. In the 10-cylinder variants the blades extend outwards farther than on the V8 and have special edging; small marks of distinction also occur at the sills. The vent louvers next to the rear window have an aluminum look on the R8 V10 Coupé (matt black on the R8 V8 Coupé and R8 V10 plus). As an option, LEDs illuminate the engine compartment; in the R8

V10 plus this illumination as well as a partial CFRP lining for the engine compartment are standard.

The LED lights dominate the rear of the Audi R8. One innovation from Audi is the indicator light with dynamic display at the bottom edge of the lamp – its light always proceeds towards the outside, in the direction the driver wishes to turn. Above the high-gloss black area between the vent openings sits the new badge – the letter "R" resting partly on a red diamond, the Audi Sport signature. The large diffusor, optionally CFRP (standard on the R8 V10 plus), has been pulled far upwards. In all engine versions the exhaust system terminates in two round, glossy tailpipe trim sections, painted black on the R8 V10 plus.

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 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 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.

From the 7-speed S tronic the propeller shaft runs through the crankcase of the engine to the front axle, where a viscous coupling distributes the torque. In normal operation the coupling directs about 15 per cent of the torque to the front axle; when the rear wheels start to spin, a maximum additional 15 per cent flows to the front. A mechanical locking differential operates at the rear axle. The rear-load distribution of the forces ideally harmonizes with the mid-engined concept of the Audi R8. The axle-load distribution is 43 : 57 (front : rear), with small differences between the individual variants.

The chassis of the high-performance sports car employs technologies from car racing. Double wishbones forged from aluminum guide all four wheels. On the R8 V10 plus the springs and shock absorbers have been specially tuned and the camber values at the front axle adapted accordingly. The Audi magnetic ride adaptive damping is standard on the R8 V10 and optional for the V8 variants; it offers a normal mode and a sports mode. The power steering delivers finely differentiated, super-sensitive feedback, with sporty, direct gear ratios.

The overhauled R8 rolls along on large wheels. The V8 engine versions have the standard wheel dimensions of 8.5 J x 18 at the front and 10.5 J x 18 at the rear, with tire sizes 235/40 and 285/35. On the V10 versions Audi mounts 19-inch wheels of widths 8.5 and 11 inches; the tires come in the sizes 235/35 and 295/30 respectively. The optional wheels have especially attractive designs – polished to a high gloss, with a titanium look or (on the R8 V10 plus) in black gloss.


The overhauled Audi R8 will roll off the line to European customers at the end of the year.
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