These are the very first pictures of the new Audi R8 supercar. The second-generation version of Audi’s mid-engined supercar will go on sale in 2015, after development delays put paid to a mid-2014 launch. It might look similar to the outgoing car, but the familiar styling hides a raft of tech changes under the skin – including a next-gen Lamborghini-derived platform.
Audi’s new R8: the chassis
The new Audi R8 will borrow the ‘MSS’ architecture used by Lamborghini’s replacement for the Gallardo, the Huracan. It’s still predominantly aluminium, but switches to carbonfibre for the firewall, transmission tunnel, and the car’s B-pillars.
Sources predict the carbon tweaks make the body alone 24kg than the old R8’s, and up to 13% stiffer. Overall, the new R8 is thought to be around 100kg lighter than its predecessor.
What’s powering the new R8?
The entry-level R8 is reported to stick with a naturally aspirated 4.2-litre V8, though power is tipped to be be lifted from today’s 424bhp output to an RS5-matching 444bhp. The 5.2-litre V10 also sticks around: output rises from 518bhp to around 542bhp – up there with the outgoing R8 V10 Plus.
This may prove to be a last hurrah for the atmospheric V10, however. Insiders report that part-way through the new R8’s life, the V10 will make way for a new 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 version. It’s likely to be a retuned version of the bi-turbo V8 used in the Audi RS6, RS7 and Bentley Continental GT, though it’ll reach its highest state of tune yet.
Around 600bhp is on the cards, marginally outpunching the Ferrari 458 Speciale, and – controversially – the R8’s Lamborghini sister car. A soft-top R8 Spyder is also in the pipeline, taking the fight to the Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet and McLaren’s 650S Spider.
The new Audi R8 doesn’t look all-new…
Like the all-new Audi TT, it’s expected Audi will pursue an evolutionary design theme to the new R8, instead of tearing up the styling rulebook. Slimmer LED front and rear lights feature, while the flanks are apparently tidied by binning the colour-contrast ‘sideblades’ that marked out the Mk1 R8. At the back, rectangular exhausts replace the bazooka-sized circular pipes of the current car, and the huge new diffuser is wider and more visible, pointing to an aerodynamics rethink. Atop the rear deck, a pop-up spoiler is visible.
Inside the 2015 Audi R8
The new chassis makes the new R8 more spacious inside than the old car, and it’ll be crammed full of tech too. The dated infotainment system we’re used to is gone; in comes a large monitor in the driver’s instrument binnacle. Like the new TT’s interface, it’ll display both the MMI infotainment system and the normal speedometer and rev-counter depending on the selected mode. A head-up display will appear on the R8’s options list for the first time.
What else will I find in the new R8’s cabin?
A distinct lack of open-gate six-speed manual gearbox. As with the new Lamborghini Huracan, the only available transmission is set to be a seven-speed dual-clutch paddleshift job, connected to Quattro all-wheel drive.