Audi has incorporated the name and the genes of a five-time Le Mans winner, the Audi R8 prototype race car, into a spectacular production sports car. Three years after unveiling the Audi Le Mans quattro concept car, the production version debuted at the 2006 Paris Motor Show as 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 hp V8 FSI engine, quattro® permanent all-wheel drive and Audi Space Frame® aluminum body form the basis for truly outstanding driving dynamics.
Even at first glance, the caliber of the car is plain to see. The Audi R8 sits wide and low on the road, with its strongly accentuated rear end appearing to flex its muscles like a sprinter ready to leave the starting block.
The sporty interior is dominated by a driver-oriented cockpit architecture called “Monoposto” that positions the driver between the dashboard and the high center 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 it also enables comfortable sports car entry and exit.
Form follows function throughout the R8. The driver-oriented architecture also is reflected in the styling of the side window sills, and the choice of materials provides a highly functional look and feel. The styling and placement of all elements in the cockpit of this driving machine mimic the R8 race car. They are focused on the essentials that make the driver the center point.
The combination of aesthetics and ergonomic considerations is maintained in the colors used and the overall ambience they create. Dark hues reflect the emphasis on engineering and are again reminiscent of the motorsport world. Professional functionality and ergonomic styling are enhanced by the visible presence of top-quality materials and exceptional craftsmanship.
The sports seats are trimmed as standard in a sporty Leather/Alcantara combination, or optionally in full leather. There is plenty of room for the two occupants, with comfort levels well beyond the norm of high-performance sports cars. There is space behind the seats to stow large bags, or even two golf bags. The luggage compartment at the front has a capacity of approximately 3.5 cu. ft.
Turbine-like power that extends to the highest rev ranges and 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 hp eight-cylinder engine, the evolution of FSI gasoline direct injection technology has reached new heights. This is the same technology that also has enjoyed many triumphs in the Audi R8 race car.
These figures illustrate the outstanding potential of the eight-cylinder unit: at 7,800 rpm the 4.2-liter engine delivers 420 hp of power output; peak torque is 317 ft. lbs. from 4,500 to 6,000 rpm; no less than 90 percent of this maximum torque is maintained consistently throughout a wide range of engine speeds from 3,500 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.
The engine is a high-revving unit with a maximum engine speed of 8,250 rpm. The results are superior power output at high engine speeds and a smooth, responsiveness across the revs range. Added to this are the R8’s agility, liveliness and engine sound, which are similar to that of a race car.
The R8’s dry sump lubrication – another technology that flows directly from motor racing – provides the ideal basis for maximum longitudinal and lateral acceleration. It allows the V8 to be positioned lower, thereby lowering the center of gravity and further enhancing driving dynamics.
Source: Audi press