The Audi R8 is a mid-engined sports car introduced by the German automaker Audi in 2007.
The first appearance of the car was in 2006, appearing at auto shows and events all over the world. The R8 is based on the Lamborghini Gallardo platform, as Audi R8 has full ownership of subsidiary Lamborghini S.p.A.
Audi announced in 2005 that the name of the successful Audi R8 race car would be used for a new road car in 2007, the Audi R8, based on the Audi Le Mans quattro concept car, appearing at the 2003 Geneva Auto Show and 2003 International Motor Show. The Audi R8 was officially launched at the Paris Auto Show on 30 September 2006. There is some confusion with the name, which the car shares with the Le Mans winning R8 LMP. Originally, many thought the car would be called the R9 (as there is a gap in numbering left when Audi announced the R8's successor, the diesel-powered R10).
The Audi R8 is equipped with a 4.2 L FSI V8 engine developing 420 PS (414 hp/309 kW) and 317 ft·lbf (430 N·m), the same engine used in the B7 Audi RS4.
The Audi R8 transmission is either a manual gearbox with metal gate, or a "R-tronic" gearbox (single-clutch semi-automatic sequential manual). These options are the same as those available on the Lamborghini Gallardo. A double clutch gearbox (Direct-Shift Gearbox - DSG, now badged by Audi as "S-tronic") is not currently (as of January 2008) available.
The R8 has a dry weight of 1560 kg (3439 lb). Its suspension utilizes magneto rheological dampers.
As Audi AG owns Lamborghini (Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A.), 15% of the R8 is shared with the Lamborghini Gallardo, including the transmission and chassis. The R8 is made distinct by its exterior styling, cabin, engine, and pricing.
The Audi R8 also features an optional Bang & Olufsen sound system, and "Audi Ceramic" Carbon-Ceramic composite brakes with monobloc alloy Brembo calipers on all four wheels.
In the production of the Audi R8, 70 workers fit 5000 unique parts by hand - the factory produces 25 cars a day. The Audi R8 has also been credited as the only car in the world to undergo a CT Scan. Ninety-five lasers inspect the entire car in 5 seconds, to ensure that over 220 measurements are within 0.1 mm (0.004 in) of the programmed plans. An open-top Audi R8 roadster, Porsche Carrera GT-like model is rumored to follow in 2009.
Many publications were hailing it as the first car to truly be able to beat the Porsche 911 - considered by many to be one of the best sports cars ever made, and the leader in its class. Initial comparison tests have proven quite positive in this respect; Evo Magazine listed it as a "supercar", compared the Audi R8 to the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, Aston Martin V8 Vantage, and BMW M6 and after praising the R8's "amazing stability, traction and grip, unparalleled steering accuracy and bite, (and) its uncannily flat and disturbance-free ride", claimed that as a result of "the sublime effortlessness of it all", the Audi R8 is a better supercar. The article concluded that "Audi R8 humbles Porsche. A new dawn starts today".
The Audi R8 TDI Le Mans, a 6.0 L, 500 PS (493 hp/368 kW), 1,000 N·m (738 ft·lbf) V12 TDI diesel engined concept, was presented at the 2008 North American International Auto Show on 13 January, and the Geneva Motor Show in March.
The R8 TDI Le Mans produces 500 PS (493 hp/368 kW) and 1,000 N·m (738 ft·lbf) of torque. It uses Audi's quattro permanent four-wheel drive system, and is mid-engined. It has a six-speed manual gearbox. It goes from 0-62 mph in 4.2 seconds, and its top speed is 202 mph (325 km/h).
The Audi R8 TDI Le Mans has modified suspension settings and brakes, to cope with the added power and weight (300 kg (661.4 lb)) as a result of replacing the standard V8 engine with the V12 TDI. The V12 TDI requires more cooling than the standard R8, hence the NACA duct in the roof to feed additional air in to the engine. The vents on the front and back of the car have also been increased by 20% in size. The headlights are all-LED. For its appearance at the Detroit Motor Show, Audi fitted 20-inch alloy wheels. The rear bulkhead has been moved forward in order to accommodate the V12, meaning it loses the space behind the rear seats usually found on the standard Audi R8.
A V10 engined version is also planned for 2009, but was put on hold in December 2007. This version of the Audi R8 was initially going to have the same engine as the RS6, a 5.2 litre V10 engine. It was thought initially that this version of the engine, which produces 580 PS (572 hp/427 kW), was going to be fitted. However, the twin-turbo system overheated, and one prototype was destroyed at the Nürburgring. It was initially expected that the production version of the high-power R8 would have a new V10 engine developed from the V8 engine that powers the RS4 and the R8. However, a different approach using the V10 of the Gallardo is currently in the final design stages, so much so that the car has now been signed off for production, and will appear during the second quarter of 2009.