The adrenaline-fuelling Audi R8 driving experience is about to be charged with even greater intensity by a new S tronic twin-clutch sports transmission in the R8 V8 and V10 Coupé and Spyder models delivering blink-of-an-eye gear shifts and improved sprinting ability.
The ultra-rapid transmission is just one highlight of the 2013 Model Year R8 range, which also now features new design detailing and all-LED lighting across the board, equipment upgrades for most models and a new, even more powerful and focused version of the V10 Coupé – the 550PS V10 plus.
The totally new seven-speed S tronic transmission replaces the R tronic automated manual option in the latest R8 range, and is available as an alternative to the acclaimed six-speed manual gearbox with its open stainless steel gate, which continues to be offered for all versions in the UK. With a three-shaft layout, the S tronic transmission is less than 60 centimetres in length. Its two multi-plate clutches are positioned behind one another (a new feature), and serve two mutually independent sub-transmissions; gears are shifted directly as the clutches alternately open and close. As a result gear shifts take place within hundredths of a second and with virtually no interruption to tractive power.
The twin-clutch S tronic transmission can make its rapid fire shifts via the selector lever or the steering wheel paddles. It offers a sports mode that adjusts the shift pattern to extract the very best from the V8 and V10 engines, and a launch control function that manages engine speed and permits exactly the right degree of tyre slip for the quickest possible take-off when accelerating.
Quicker and cleaner
With the benefit of S tronic the hand built, naturally aspirated eight and ten cylinder FSI petrol engines are given even more opportunity to show their mettle. The integration of the new 7-speed S tronic transmission has not only reduced CO2 emissions by up to 22 grams/km, but in V8 and V10 Coupé and V10 Spyder versions it has also improved the acceleration time from rest to 62mph by three-tenths of a second compared with R tronic-equipped equivalents. Both engines are compact, comparatively lightweight and feature motorsport-derived dry-sump lubrication which allows for low positioning and therefore a lower centre of gravity for optimum handling.
The 4.2-litre V8 FSI engine produces 430PS at 7,900 rpm, and peak torque of 430 Nm between 4,500 and 6,000 rpm. The unit powers the R8 Coupé with S tronic transmission from rest to 62mph in 4.3 seconds and on to a top speed of 186mph (with manual transmission: 4.6 seconds and 187mph). The R8 V8 Spyder in manual and S tronic forms takes care of the sprint in 4.5 and 4.8 seconds respectively, and in both cases can reach a top speed of 186mph. According to the combined cycle test the V8 Coupé with new S tronic transmission can return up to 22.8mpg.
The V10 engine provides 530 Nm of torque at 6,500 rpm, and peak power of 525PS available at 8,000 rpm. With S tronic transmission the V10 Coupé can accelerate from zero to 62mph in 3.6 seconds and reach a top speed of 195mph. With manual transmission the values are 3.9 seconds and 196mph. The R8 V10 Spyder with S tronic completes the standard sprint in 3.8 seconds and has a top speed of 193mph (with manual transmission: 4.1 seconds and 194mph). Combined economy in the V10 Coupé with S tronic stands at 21.6mpg.
550PS R8 V10 plus
The new flagship of the range is the Audi R8 V10 plus. Developing 550PS and maximum torque of 540 Nm at 6,500 rpm, this coupé-only version catapults from rest to 62mph in 3.5 seconds and achieves a top speed of 197mph when linked to S tronic transmission; Combined fuel economy is 21.9mpg. With manual transmission, the acceleration time lengthens slightly to 3.8 seconds, top speed also increases to 198mph and combined fuel economy tops out at 19.0mpg
The chassis of the high-performance sports car employs technologies derived from motorsport. Double wishbones forged from aluminium guide all four wheels, and in the R8 V10 plus the springs, shock absorbers and front suspension geometry have been specially tuned and adapted. Audi magnetic ride adaptive damping is standard for the R8 V10 and optional for the V8 variants; it offers a normal mode and a sports mode. The power steering delivers super-sensitive feedback, with ultra-direct gear ratios.
In the UK, V8 versions of the 2013 Model Year R8 will feature 19-inch five-arm double-spoke wheels with 235/35 tyres at the front and 295/30 tyres at the rear. ‘Standard’ V10 models will be equipped with 19-inch ten-spoke Y design wheels with tyres of the same specification. The R8 V10 plus will differentiate itself further through an exclusive 19-inch five-arm double-spoke wheel design. Optional wheels with a high gloss or titanium look will also be available, with an exclusive black gloss finish offered for the V10 plus.
Standard ceramic discs for V10 plus
The steel brake discs of the high-performance sports car are internally ventilated, perforated and joined to the aluminium disc bowls by pins. The new “Wave” design of the discs, with their wave-like exterior contour, lowers the weight overall by about two kilograms compared with round discs of the same dimensions. The aluminium brake callipers operate at the front wheels with eight pistons each, and at the rear wheels with four pistons each. Carbon fibre ceramic brake discs with remarkable stopping power, exceptional resistance to fade and a long service life are standard for the V10 plus and optional for other models. The electronic stabilisation control system ESC offers a sports mode and can also be fully deactivated.
The 2013 Model Year R8 has evolved more subtly, but no less significantly, in terms of styling. Its single-frame grille is a new design with bevelled upper corners and horizontal chrome inserts adorning the struts on the V10 variants. The bumper is also new, with the air inlets bearing three crossbars each, and in the new V10 plus coupe it incorporates a weight-saving Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) front splitter.
The housings of the outside mirrors and the lateral air inlets, known as ‘side blades’, are also made from CFRP in the new R8 V10 plus. In all the ten-cylinder variants the side blades extend outwards further than in the V8 models and have special edging. The vent louvres next to the rear window have an aluminium look on the R8 V10 Coupé, and are finished in matt black in the R8 V8 Coupé and R8 V10 plus. The mighty engine that is visible through that rear window in the R8 V10 plus is trimmed in CFRP and illuminated by LEDs – these features are also available at extra cost for all other models.
Range-wide all-LED headlights
All-LED headlights are now standard on all variants of the Audi R8, and are complemented by new strip-shaped daytime running lights that form a ‘clasp’ around the lens. The light-emitting diodes for the high and low beam headlights have been placed above and below the daytime running lights, which are specially actuated to serve as indicators. Static cornering lights are also integrated into the headlights.
LED lights also dominate the rear of the Audi R8. The clusters include innovative new indicators which appear to perform a ‘sweeping’ movement from the inside outwards, making them more noticeable than even the latest LED indicator systems. The sweep is achieved by a horizontal row of LEDs that are illuminated in successive blocks. The latest R8 is also distinguishable from its predecessor by way of its new badge with signature Audi Sport red diamond, and by its repositioned diffusor, which in the V10 plus Coupé is made from CFRP. In all engine versions the exhaust system terminates in two round, glossy tailpipe trim sections, painted black on the R8 V10 plus.
The 2013 Model Year R8 will be available in the two solid colours Ibis White and Brilliant Red, and with four metallic and five pearl effect / crystal effect options. An additional matt effect colour is available exclusively for the R8 V10 plus. The side blades on the Coupé are offered in a choice of eight colours, and the Spyder’s soft top can be finished in either black, red or brown.
The R8 embodies Audi’s wealth of expertise in ultra-lightweight design. The aluminium Coupé body with the Audi Space Frame (ASF) weighs just 210 kg, and the Spyder body 216 kg. The unladen R8 V8 Coupé with manual transmission weighs in at just 1,560 kg, while the open-top sports car registers 1,660 kg. The R8 V10 plus, available only as a coupé, adds just 10 kg to the weight of the V8 Coupé, taking it to 1,570 kg. Its additional CFRP body components combine with adjustable bucket seats with glass fibre-reinforced polymer (GFRP) chassis, reduced insulating materials, special light alloy wheels and chassis components such as the standard ceramic brakes to keep weight to a minimum.
On the Audi R8 Spyder the lid on the soft top compartment and the side parts are also CFRP. The elegant, lightweight fabric top, with its largely aluminium and magnesium linkage, perfectly complements the R8’s inherent ultra-lightweight design. The top opens and closes electrohydraulically in 19 seconds, and during driving at up to 31mph. The heated window in the bulkhead between the passenger and engine compartments stands apart from the soft top; the window can be retracted and extended by a switch and also serves as a wind deflector. If sensors detect a potential rollover situation, two strong, spring-tensioned sections are ejected upwards from the seats.
Further refined interior
Inside the 2013 Model Year R8, the new R8 badge appears on the gearshift or selector lever, in the door sill trims, in the instrument cluster and in the start screen of the on-board monitor. In the R8 V10 plus it also appears on the flattened rim of the leather-covered multifunction sports steering wheel. The instrument cluster itself has been reworked, the gear shift paddles have been further improved and new chrome inserts have been added in several areas. The centre console, the surround for the radio/navigation system and the handbrake lever are also now covered with delicately stitched leather.
Standard equipment levels have also been boosted for the 2013 Model Year R8, particularly where V8 Coupé and Spyder models are concerned. As well as all-LED headlights and new design 19-inch alloy wheels, they gain the Audi Music Interface (iPod connection), satellite navigation, Bluetooth mobile phone preparation and heating for their Fine Nappa Leather-upholstered sports seats. To bring them into line with the V10 Spyder, V10 Coupe models upgrade to an extended Fine Nappa Leather package which takes in elements such as the dashboard and side panels.
At the top of the range, the most driver-focused R8 V10 plus Coupe models feature numerous weight-saving Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) elements externally, in areas such as the door mirrors, side blades, front splitter and diffusor, plus lighter and even more effective carbon fibre ceramic brakes. Their glass fibre-reinforced buckets seats weigh less than their counterparts in the standard V10 versions. Exclusive 19-inch five-arm Y design double spoke alloy wheels also mark them out externally.