The R8 shares a version of the Lamborghini Gallardo's structural underpinnings and will come with a detuned version of the Gallardo's 5.0-litre V10, giving 450bhp, as well as the 420bhp V8 found in the RS4.

Super Sports car “Spotted”

Back in 2003, Audi awed spectators at the Frankfurt Motor Show with its LeMans Quattro concept car. Audi’s management decided to go ahead with a production version which will give Audi a high-performance sports car to compete with the Porsche 911 and Aston Martin V8 Vantage.

Now these latest photos capture a test prototype undergoing high-speed testing at Germany’s Nürburgring race course. The minimal disguise on the car, just a few bits of black tape on the headlights, some red tape on the tail, and a few white polka dots, give us a clear view of what the production model will look like. Overall design is nearly unchanged from the dramatic LeMans Quattro concept. The most noticeable difference is that the concept car’s futuristic LED headlights have been replaced by more conventional projector-beam lights, although the overall shape of the headlight area is the same. There is also some very minor reshaping of the grille, hood, and lower spoiler area in front. At the rear, the big change is the quad round tail-pipes, two on each side, instead of the concept vehicle’s twin pipes in the middle. The area around the license plate has also been subtly reshaped, although once again, the overall design is still intact.

The new sports car will not be called the LeMans, a name already used by Pontiac many years ago, but instead will stick with Audi’s typical alpha-numeric names and will be the R8. It is expected to go into production late this year, and will be launched in early 2007.

The R8 shares a version of the Lamborghini Gallardo's structural underpinnings and will come with a detuned version of the Gallardo's 5.0-litre V10, giving 450bhp, as well as the 420bhp V8 found in the RS4. This is to ensure that sales of the more expensive Gallardo will not be adversely affected. Audi hasn't announced pricing for the R8 as yet, but it will undercut the Gallardo by some margin. A starting point of around EUR 95,000 has been rumored.

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