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Future models - Audi - R8

Audi unveils facelifted R8

Plus factor: The new Audi R8 V10 Plus sheds weight and gains power to blast from 0-100km/h quicker than the super-exclusive hardcore GT variant.

Potent new V10 Plus variant and dual-clutch transmission for updated Audi R8

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Audi logo25 Jul 2012

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

AUDI has released images and details of its facelifted R8 supercar, which will reach Australian showrooms in the first quarter of next year featuring styling tweaks and a new S tronic seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

A potent V10 Plus flagship variant is also expected to join the local line-up from launch, according to Audi Australia corporate communications executive Shaun Cleary.

Mr Cleary said it was too early to indicate if pricing will change for the R8 range, which presently starts at $271,500 (plus on-road costs) for the V8 coupe, topping out at $351,300 for the drop-top V10 Spyder.

The new coupe-only V10 Plus flagship gains 18kW of power and 10Nm of torque over the standard V10 for a total of 412kW and 540Nm.

At 1570kg, the V10 Plus is 50kg lighter than the manual V10 coupe and weighs just 10kg more than the manual V8 coupe due to the use of fibreglass-reinforced plastic seat frames, reduced sound insulation, lighter alloy wheels and chassis components, standard ceramic brakes and extra carbon-fibre body parts.

The result is a top speed of 317km/h and a 0-100km/h sprint time of 3.5 seconds, just 3km/h and 0.1s slower than the hardcore, limited-run R8 GT, which weighs even less at 1525kg.

In Europe, Audi charges a 12 per cent premium for the V10 Plus, which would equate to an Australian price exceeding $390,000 based.

That is still $50,000 less than the ultra-exclusive R8 GT coupe, of which just five examples were allocated to Australia along with five of the even pricier Spyder version.

The Plus is available in matte paint finishes and gets carbon-fibre exterior mirrors, side air scoops, front splitter, rear diffuser and lining for the LED-illuminated engine compartment.

V10 Plus variants also get a gloss black finish for the tailpipe trims and alloy wheels, Carbon Sigma interior trim and specially tuned springs, shock absorbers and front camber settings.

Styling updates for this mid-life facelift are subtle, most noticeable being the move to restyled full LED headlights, integrated static cornering lamps and the high and low-beam arrays separated by a daytime-running light strip.

The tail-light clusters have also been redesigned and include innovative new indicators that sweep the orange light towards the intended direction of travel instead of simply flashing.

A new grille features bevelled corners to bring it in line with Audi’s latest design language and is flanked by squarer-looking air intakes.

Opting for the new S tronic transmission will shave three-tenths of a second off the 0-100km/h time of any automatic R8 variant compared with the current six-speed robotised manual R tronic, which maintained the manual’s time.

This means the 100km/h sprint times are 4.3 seconds for the V8 coupe, 4.5 seconds for the V8 Spyder, 3.6 seconds for the V10 coupe and 3.8 seconds for the V10 Spyder.

The new transmission aids efficiency, meaning the new automatic V8 coupe consumes 12.4 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres, down almost nine per cent, while consumption of the V10 falls 4.4 per cent to 13.1L/100km, and the more powerful V10 Plus uses 12.9L/100km.

Power and torque outputs for the standard V8 and V10 engines remain at 316kW/430Nm and 386kW/530Nm respectively.

Audi has sold 297 R8s since it was launched in October 2007, with sales down 21.2 per cent in the first half of this year, to 26 units.

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All future models

R8 pricing

Motor industry news

GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.