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New Abt XGT is an Audi R8 race car made legal for the road

The Abt DTM racing team has taken the Audi R8 supercar to the extreme

The Audi R8 is no more. The mid-engined supercar signed off earlier this year with the limited-edition GT as a high performance swansong. But the R8 story isn’t quite over yet, Abt Sportsline has breathed life into the R8 by launching the GT2-inspired Abt XGT. 

We caught the XGT testing in October around the Nurburgring (where else?) and now it’s been fully revealed as perhaps the most extreme iteration of the Audi R8 ever. The number plates show this is indeed a road-legal car, despite the almost identical exterior bodywork to the R8 LMS GT2 endurance racer that won at the Nurburgring 24hr, the ADAC GT Masters and the 24 Hours of Spa. 

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Numbers will be limited - just 99 examples will be made with each one costing 598,000 euros (roughly £520,000). The exterior of the XGT is almost identical to the race car’s. It’s wider and longer with bigger wheel arches housing bespoke centre lock forged wheels wrapped in Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tyres and revised bumpers at each end. There’s a significant amount of aerodynamic redesign from the R8 road car with front canards, a splitter, side skirt extensions, a big diffuser and, of course, the massive GT2-style swan-neck rear wing. 

The inside of the Abt XGT is just as focused. It’s essentially what you’d find inside the R8 LMS GT2 with a few creature comforts and functions to make it road legal. Things like the fuelling system were retained from the road car to ease usability and the instrument cluster was modified for road use with a handbrake, central locking and even a reversing camera added to help make it easier to live with. The wing mirrors are now electrically operated and there's air conditioning and indicators. The standard rear-wheel drive R8 weighed 1,570kg but the XGT tips the scales at 1,400kg.

Combined with the reduction in weight there’s a boost in power. The XGT uses the familiar 5.2-litre naturally-aspirated V10 but with 640bhp opposed to 612bhp in the R8 GT. That power is sent through a seven-speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels and the revised  dual-adjustable suspension with modified springs was developed with DTM drivers Kelvin van der Linde and Ricardo Feller.

The Nurburgring is the home of legends, and these are the record holders...

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Senior news reporter

A keen petrol-head, Alastair Crooks has a degree in journalism and worked as a car salesman for a variety of manufacturers before joining Auto Express in Spring 2019 as a Content Editor. Now, as our senior news reporter, his daily duties involve tracking down the latest news and writing reviews.

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