The Audi R8 – New And Improved.

Sadly, the illustrious R8 (small image on left) that we all know and love will soon be no more. Fortunately, Audi will be replacing it with a new R8 that has been newly developed from the ground up – more taut, more striking and more focused both on the race track and on the road, say Audi.

At the Geneva Motor Show, the German brand will present the second generation of its high-performance sports car. The mid-mounted V10 and newly developed quattro all-wheel-drive system should ensure breathtaking performance. This should be especially true of the top-of-the-range version with an unsubtle 610PS, which not only powers to 62mph from rest more rapidly than any series production Audi in history apparently but is also the first to be capable of officially pushing beyond 200mph.The 5.2-litre FSI engine at the heart of the new R8 is available in two versions: one with 540 PS and another producing 610 PS. The range-topping model accelerates in just 3.2 seconds from rest to 62 mph and keeps going to its maximum speed of 205 mph. The sound of the naturally aspirated V10 engine, whose maximum torque is available at 6,500 rpm, has become even fuller and sharper.

A seven-speed S-tronic transmission and a newly developed quattro drive system transmit the power to the road. The distribution of the drive torque is highly adaptable to prevailing driving conditions – in extreme cases, 100 percent of the torque can be transmitted to the front or rear axle. The new performance mode in the Audi drive select dynamic handling system enables adaptation of the most important ride dynamics parameters to the friction coefficient of the road.The design, as you can see from the images, reflects the powerful character of the Audi R8. A visual distinguishing feature – which also provides enhanced safety – comes in the form of the all-LED headlights complemented by dynamic turn signals with their scrolling function in the intended turn direction at the front. Dynamic turn signals are standard at the rear.

In the new Audi ‘virtual’ cockpit, the displays are digital. The most important controls are grouped together in button clusters on the steering wheel. In the interior, the driver has the impression of sitting in a racing car. The air conditioning controls emphasise the simplicity of the control panel with its floating effect. MMI navigation plus with MMI touch is standard.

The R8 has always been special to car fans. It has proved to be true that it is car that can be used every day. No load-lugger obviously, it nevertheless is easy to drive and calm in traffic. Put the pedal to the metal however and everything changes. Let’s hope that the new car doesn’t lose any of that usability at the expense of power alone. Just look at it. Can’t wait.Geoff Maxted