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Audi R8 Plus nudges Lambo money

On the money: At $408,200 plus on-road costs, the flagship Audi R8 V10 Plus is nearly as expensive as a Lamborghini Gallardo.

Hardcore $408K V10 Plus heads up facelifted Australian Audi R8 range

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Audi logo22 Mar 2013

AROUND 35 Australians put their names down for the facelifted Audi R8 supercar ahead of today’s official launch – and a third have opted for the new $408,200 (plus on-road costs) V10 Plus flagship.

This new pinnacle of Audi’s performance arsenal costs just $1300 less than a Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2, which delivers almost identical power and torque outputs.

It is the first time Audi has stepped into Raging Bull territory with production car pricing, as only limited numbers of the ultra-exclusive, lightweight R8 GT coupe of 2010 were produced, followed up by the even pricier Spyder drop-top version in 2011.

But when performance figures are taking into account, the Plus looks like good value as it screams from rest to 100km/h in just 3.5 seconds on the way to a hair-raising 317km/h top speed.

That is a tenth quicker than the GT, and just 3km/h off its v-max – enough to earn the Plus the title of quickest production Audi in history Meanwhile the least expensive Lambo’s rear-drive, manual driveline puts it four tenths behind the all-wheel-drive, dual-clutch Audi in the sprint to 100km/h, although its top speed is shared with the GT.

The Plus packs a special 404kW/540Nm version of the R8’s Lamborghini-derived 5.2-litre V10 engine, and the car’s 1570kg mass makes it 50kg lighter than the standard V10 but 45kg heavier than the GT.

Weight-reducing measures include lighter titanium-finished 19-inch alloy wheels, carbon-ceramic brakes, thinner insulation and fibreglass seat frames for the Plus-specific bucket seats.

The exterior mirrors, side air scoops, front splitter, rear diffuser and lining for the LED-illuminated engine compartment of the Plus are all made from carbon-fibre.

Exclusive to the Plus – which is only available as a coupe – is a new matte Sepang blue paint finish that costs $11,000 extra.

The Plus also gets gloss black tailpipes and interior upgrades comprising extended leather, Alcantara headlining, a flat-bottomed steering wheel and carbon sigma trim.

Magnetic Ride adaptive suspension is dropped in favour of a more focused sports setup with bespoke spring and damper tuning plus tweaks to the front camber angle.

In manual coupe and open-top Spyder format the range-opening V8 has received a $8500 price hike, to $279,500 and $308,400 respectively.

However all models fitted with the new seven-speed S-tronic dual-clutch transmission have no change in price over equivalent outgoing models using the six-speed R-tronic robotised manual.

The quick-shifting S-tronic is a major performance enhancer, shaving three tenths off the 0-100km/h time for all automatic facelifted R8s.

As a result the automatic V8 coupe ($287,000) hits triple digits in 4.3 seconds and the Spyder ($315,900) does it in 4.5s Audi Australia corporate communications executive Shaun Cleary told GoAuto up to 95 per cent of R8 customers are expected to opt for the S-tronic.

He said this prompted the company to focus on maintaining the price of automatic variants while upping the cost of manuals to reflect the higher standard specification, which includes full LED headlights and upgraded Fine Nappa leather upholstery.

Manual V10 R8s have been deleted from the range, meaning entry to the bigger engined coupe now costs $366,900 and and the Spyder $395,800, with respective 0-100km/h times now down to 3.6s and 3.8s.

In addition to the aforementioned LED headlights and premium leather, the R8 comes with tyre pressure monitoring, a premium sat-nav/infotainment system with Audi Music Interface and 19-inch forged alloy wheels.

Audi has not messed much with the successful R8 styling formula for this update, with the most noticeable changes being restyled front and rear lights and a new grille with bevelled corners, flanked by squared-off air intakes.

The high and low-beam LED arrays of the new headlights separated by a daytime-running light strip, while the rear indicators now sweep orange light towards the intended direction of travel rather than just flashing.

Hot Plus variant aside, outputs from the standard V8 and V10 engines remain at 316kW/430Nm and 386kW/530Nm respectively but the new S-tronic transmission improves fuel efficiency.

A tall seventh ratio enables the R8 Plus to deliver a relatively responsible fuel consumption figure of 12.9 litres per 100 kilometres – less than the outgoing V8 version and not bad considering a Holden Commodore SS uses 12.3L/100km.

Automatic V8 coupes consume almost nine per cent less than before at 12.4L/100km, while the V10 is 4.4 per cent less thirsty at 13.1L/100km.

Audi has sold 315 R8s in Australia since it was launched here in October 2007.

An all-new second-generation version is in the works and is expected to be revealed next year.

2013 Audi R8 pricing*
4.2 FSI V8 $279,500
4.2 FSI V8 (a) $287,000
Spyder 4.2 FSI V8 $308,400
Spyder 4.2 FSI V8 (a) $315,900
5.2 FSI V10 (a) $366,900
Spyder 5.2 FSI V10 (a) $395,800
5.2 FSI V10 Plus (a) $408,200
*Excludes on-road costs.

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