The Audi R8 has proved to be a huge success for the German manufacturer and replacing it is no mean feat. Audi hopes to improve on the R8s success but adding more power, decreasing weight and incorporating a radical new design.
When first launched in 2006 the only real change the R8 has seen since then was a recent facelift last year. The biggest change was the removal of the car’s only real Achilles heel – its R tronic gearbox – which was replaced by a slick-shifting S tronic transmission.
The new R8, which Audi plans to unveil in 2015, will stay true to the current concept, maintaining the cars proportions and interior space. However it will undergo more dramatic cosmetic changes. Neat new design features will include a more prominent single-frame grille that will eventually grace all Audi’s RS-badged models and there will also be new matrix-beam LED lights with an updated daytime running light design. A shorter version of the car’s trademark sideblade is also expected.
Audi isn’t expected to follow rival manufactures such as Porsche, Ferrari and McLaren down the hybrid supercar route, however. Instead, the R8 will be fitted with a revised version of the current V8 and V10, with power hikes of around 25bhp for both, taking them to 450bhp and 570bhp respectively. For the first time on the R8, all engines will get cylinder deactivation and stop-start technology. Expect a 10 per cent improvement in fuel economy
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. Groundbreaking suspension 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.
Speaking to Auto Express at the Detroit Motor Show back in January, quattro division boss Franciscus van Meel confirmed the striking grille you see here will feature on future RS cars.
Audi is keen to transfer tech directly from the race track to the road. As a result, the carbon fibre bonnet from the R8 LMS will be used, as well as a high-downforce double-diffuser.
If you thought suspension springs had to be made of metal, think again. Groundbreaking glass fibre-reinforced polymer coils help save weight without compromising performance.
Carbon fibre isn’t just for body panel and interior trim; it will form a key part (23 per cent) of the R8’s chassis in varying thicknesses – and make the body four times stiffer.
Both V8 and V10 will get a major efficiency boost with the addition of stop-start and cylinder deactivation, which cuts half the cylinders under light throttle loads.