Audi’s brand new R8 is stealing headlines at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. The R8 will come in three different flavors; V10, V10 Plus and e-tron. But also on display is the Audi R8 LMS race car. While not a radical design change from the previous R8, it’s more of a small evolutionary step, the new R8 looks very good, indeed.
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The new R8 has much crisper, sharper lines than before and is lower and a bit wider. Though it isn’t too far a departure from the previous car, it still manages to look fresh and modern. It’s also still a very pretty car, very desirable. Audi nailed the design the first time and this new one is a perfect evolution.
All R8s are considerably lighter than their predecessors, weighing in at just 3,205 lbs dry. The tricks behind all of this weight savings lie in the chassis. Based on the same chassis as in the Lamborghini Huracan, the R8’s Audi Space Frame Chassis is made out of aluminum and carbon fiber. It’s also 40 percent stiffer than the outgoing car.
The interior is also new and improved, which the R8 so desperately needed. The previous R8 had to make due with Audi’s ancient, by modern standards, MMI system. This new R8 gets a 12.3 inch display which replaces the gauges, ala the new TT. The R8’s, however, can display performance data, such as g-forces, horsepower, torque and a shift indicator. Fancy.
Performance comes in three different flavors. The ‘regular’ V10 R8 packs a revised version of the previous R8’s 5.2 liter V10 which produces 532 horsepower. The V10 Plus uses the same V10 just on steroids to give it a whopping 602 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque. Both versions are only available with Audi’s 7-Speed, dual-clutch, S-Tronic gearbox. No manual will be offered in the new R8. A shame, since the old one, with its gated shifter, was one of the last great manual sports cars. But this new S-Tronic box is one of the best in the business, so no harm there. Performance figures for the new R8 V10 Plus are 0-60 in 3.2 seconds and onto a top speed of 205 mph, which are extremely similar to its Italian cousin, the Huracan.
Audi R8 e-tron
Other big news for the R8 is the announcement of the e-tron. While such a car was rumored quite some time ago, it was never actually slated for production. However, with this new model, the e-eron will be available to purchase by a select, lucky few.
The e-tron distinguishes itself from its gasoline powered twin with a new face, adorned with aluminum accents, and some flashy wheels. The e-tron will be rear-wheel drive only, for efficiency reason, and will be powered by a pair of rear-mounted electric motors producing 456 hp and 678 lb-ft of torque. The motors will get power from a 92 kWh battery which is claimed to give the car a 280 mile range.
That’ll make the Tesla Model S blush, and it gets even better with a claimed two hour charge time, on a fast-charge DC charger. Expect performance figures, similar to the BMW i8’s, of 0-60 in 3.9 seconds and a top speed limited to 130 or 155 mph.
The e-tron will be very exclusive and made to order. There will be no e-trons on showroom floors. Audi claims that this e-tron is more of a test bed for future products and according to Audi will “help in creating a vehicle with sedan character”. To me, that says Audi is going to use the e-tron to help them make a Tesla fighter.
Overall, the new R8 is a very exciting vehicle. The original is a favorite among many enthusiasts, so this new one has large shoes to fill. The e-tron is also an interesting rival to the BMW i8. Though the e-tron is all electric, compared to the hybrid i8, performance figures are similar and the i8 has a better range due to the fact that it can fill up with gas and keep going. It will be very interesting to see how the R8 stacks up against competition when it debuts. Tickle me excited.