2008 Audi R8 Specifications
Base Price: 2008 Audi R8 - $109,000
Audi Reveals the R8: Le Mans Racer for the Street
The Audi R8, into which Audi has incorporated the name and the genes of the five-time Le Mans winner, is a spectacular sports car. Three years after the unveiling of the Audi Le Mans quattro concept car, the production version will be making its debut at the Paris Motor Show in the guise of the new Audi R8 mid-engined sports model. It is a fascinating driving machine and the sporty pinnacle of the Audi brand. The mid-mounted 420 bhp V8 FSI engine, quattro permanent four-wheel drive and Audi Space Frame aluminum body form the basis for truly outstanding driving dynamics. The Audi R8 will be available to order from 28 September 2006; first deliveries will be made in the first half of 2007.
As the first Audi mid-engined sports car, the Audi R8 combines Audi's experience gained from numerous motorsport triumphs with groundbreaking design and the acknowledged technological expertise of the brand. This expertise has led to the slogan 'Vorsprung durch Technik' becoming a byword for leading-edge technology both on the race track and on the road.
Audi R8's Exterior
Even at first glance, the caliber of the Audi R8 is plain to see. The car sits broad and squat on the road, the strongly accentuated rear end appearing to flex its muscles like a sprinter ready for the off.
The characteristic proportions of the vehicle are dictated by the location of the engine behind the cockpit. This layout is a typical feature of race cars. One of the most striking examples of this design - and as such one of the legitimate antecedents of the Audi R8 - was, and still is, the Auto Union Type C Grand Prix car. The central position of the engine is above all a boon to driving dynamics, as it allows for a weight distribution, as on the R8, of 44 percent to the front and 56 percent to the rear.
The car's body is highly compact in appearance. The front end and the gently curved roof arc are drawn in a sweeping line; a line which immediately marks the two-seater out as an Audi.
The side view also reveals familiar contours. The dynamic line above the wheel arches and the shoulder line interlink the front end, side and rear, imbue the doors and the transition to the side air vent with a strong presence, and even more emphatically highlight the typical Audi rounded wheel housings accommodating the big wheels.
The cabin of the Audi R8 is pushed far forward - a typical feature of a mid-engined sports car, and as such a visual cue linking it to the race car of the same name. Behind the cabin, positioned in front of the rear axle, is the V8 FSI engine, a sculptured piece of engineering visible both through the large, shield-shaped rear window and from inside the car.
The full aluminum body is constructed in the Audi Space Frame (ASF) design. Its perfect synthesis of minimal weight and maximum rigidity provides the ideal foundation for optimum driving dynamics, as well as delivering an outstanding power-to-weight ratio of just 8.18 pounds per bhp.
The sporty interior is dominated by a totally driver-oriented cockpit architecture, integrating the driver between the dashboard and the high centre console. The instrument panel above the console is angled slightly towards the driver. The flat-bottomed steering wheel is a typical feature of the sportiest Audi models, and also enables comfortable sports car entry and exit.
Form follows function: this design principle is implemented throughout the R8. Alongside the driver-oriented architecture, also reflected in the styling of the side window sills, the choice of materials also makes for a highly functional look and feel. Looking around when in the driving seat makes one thing clear: just like in the R8 race car, the styling and placement of all the elements in the cockpit of this driving machine is focused on the essentials. The center point of everything is the driver.
Turbine-like power up to the highest rev ranges, a high maximum torque, all combined with a fascinating sound, are the characteristics of a perfect sports car engine. An engine that is fascinating both in terms of its enormous power potential and its suitability for everyday use.
In the high-revving 420 bhp eight-cylinder engine, the evolution of FSI petrol direct injection technology has reached a new high. This technology has also enjoyed many triumphs in the Audi R8 race car.
The figures illustrate the outstanding potential of the eight-cylinder unit. At 7,800 rpm the 4.2-liter engine delivers 420 bhp of power output. Peak torque is 317 lb-ft from 4,500 to 6,000 rpm. And no less than 90 per cent of this maximum torque is maintained consistently throughout a wide engine speed range from 3,500 all the way to 7,600 rpm. As a result of these qualities, the eight-cylinder power unit provides maximum thrust in virtually any driving situation.
The performance figures are equally impressive: the R8 accelerates from a standstill to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and reaches a top speed of 187 mph.
Two transmissions are available: a manual 6-speed gearbox or optionally the Audi R tronic sequential-shift gearbox. Here, too, the influence of the motorsport world is clearly evident, with a joystick gear-shift on the centre console and, most especially, the paddles mounted on the steering wheel, which are a long-established ergonomic feature in motorsport. The best illustration of this is once again the Le Mans winning Audi R8, which also enables the driver to change gear on the steering wheel.
The Audi R8 is being built on a small-lot production line in a specially constructed new block at the Audi plant in Neckarsulm, Germany.