Audi has confirmed the second-generation R8 supercar will be unveiled at the Geneva show before its mid 2015 debut.
Audi’s first attempt at an out-and-out supercar back in 2007 proved to be a monumental success for the firm, with Audi R8 sales far exceeding expectations. Which means the second-generation R8 model has job on its hands to live up to the hype. We’ll be able to judge it soon enough as the all-new R8 will be unveiled for the first time at this year’s Geneva Motor Show.
The current Audi R8 received a series of light updates in 2013, but this is the first time the supercar has been comprehensively overhauled. Despite all-new engineering and the likelyhood of a plug-in-hybrid e-tron variant, however, the disguised prototype we’ve seen is instantly recognisable as Audi’s mid-engined Porsche 911 rival.
At the front there appears to be a modest redesign, with a more aggressive bumper and redeisnged air intakes and grille which will be tacked-on to the next-generation of hot RS cars. The flanks appear to feature more sculpted panels, while a new aero-optimised diffuser lurks at the back. A new exhaust system with squared-off tailpipes can also be seen, which sits flush with the reshaped rear end.
As far as we know the new R8 will be fitted with reworked versions of the current V8 and V10 units, with power hikes of at least 25bhp for both, taking them to over 450bhp and 570bhp respectively. For the first time on the firm’s supercar, all engines will get cylinder deactivation and stop-start technology for a 10% fuel economy improvement.
For the first time in the hottest Audi we expect there to be a plug-in hybrid e-tron model available later on, going head to head with Honda’s new petrol-electric NSX. We expect it to use the V8 engine as the basis for the powertrain, with electric motors pushing the power output well over 500bhp and significantly improving efficiency.
Audi will use lessons learned from its R8 LMS racer, adding a carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) bonnet and roof to save weight, while a version of the downforce-generating double diffuser used on the LMP1 Le Mans winner is expected, too. The car will also draw on the R8 e-tron – adopting its Multimaterial Spaceframe body, which uses 23 per cent carbon fibre in its construction to save 23kg.
Also likely to be included are the e-tron’s glass fibre-reinforced polymer suspension springs, CFRP anti-roll bars, ceramic brakes and titanium rear wheel hubs. All this will help keep the weight below 1,500kg.
However, carbon fibre isn’t just for body panel and interior trim; it will form 23 per cent of the R8’s chassis, resulting in a stiffer body. A brand new (and rarely before seen) suspension design will see glass fibre-reinforced polymer coils save weight without compromising performance.
The interior will benefit from a thorough overhaul, with most functions incorporated into a new MMI system. Digital dials are also likely, as is a digital rear-view mirror that uses a hi-res camera to produce an image on a screen.
The new R8 V8 is expected to cost from just under £100,000 when it arrives next year.