(from Audi Press
Release) Audi R8
Audi has incorporated the name and the genes of the five-time Le
Mans winner, the Audi R8, into a spectacular sports car. Three years
after the unveiling of the Audi Le Mans quattro concept car, the
production version will be making its debut at the Paris Motor Show
in the guise of 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 bhp V8 FSI engine, quattro permanent
four-wheel drive and Audi Space Frame aluminium body form the basis
for truly outstanding driving dynamics. The Audi R8 will be
available to order from 28 September 2006; first deliveries will be
made in the first half of 2007.
As the first Audi mid-engined sports car, the R8 combines Audi's
experience gained from numerous motorsport triumphs with
groundbreaking design and the acknowledged technological expertise
of the brand. This expertise has led to the slogan 'Vorsprung durch
Technik' becoming a byword for leading-edge technology both on the
race track and on the road.
Audi has recorded countless motorsport victories on race tracks all
over the world. Following the rally successes of the Ingolstadt
brand in the 1980s, and its triumphs on the touring car circuit, the
world of long-distance motor racing was without a doubt the biggest
challenge yet faced by Audis motorsport engineers.
And they mastered this challenge in style too: the Audi R8 won the
prestigious Le Mans 24 Hours five times from 2000 to 2002 and in
2004 and 2005 and on two occasions even took the first three
Le Mans is without doubt the toughest challenge to the Audi Sport
Team's engineers because it calls for a level of engineering going
far beyond the need merely to keep all the systems focussed on a
short, sharp sprint. Alongside the essential virtues of top
performance and optimised driving dynamics, the key requirements in
long-distance racing are endurance and reliability, allied with
optimum ergonomic design.
These are genes which are eminently transferable to a road-going
sports car too, and which, allied to its exciting design, make the
Audi R8 truly unmistakeable.
Even at first glance, the calibre of the car is plain to see. The
Audi R8 sits broad and squat on the road, the strongly accentuated
rear end appearing to flex its muscles like a sprinter ready for the
The characteristic proportions of the vehicle are dictated by the
location of the engine behind the cockpit. This layout is a typical
feature of race cars. One of the most striking examples of this
design and as such one of the legitimate antecedents of the Audi
R8 was, and still is, the Auto Union Type C Grand Prix car. The
central position of the engine is above all a boon to driving
dynamics, as it allows for a weight distribution, as on the R8, of
44 percent to the front and 56 percent to the rear.
The car's body is highly compact in appearance. The front end and
the gently curved roof arc are drawn in a sweeping line; a line
which immediately marks the two-seater out as an Audi.
The side view also reveals familiar contours. The dynamic line above
the wheel arches and the shoulder line interlink the front end, side
and rear, imbue the doors and the transition to the side air vent
with a strong presence, and even more emphatically highlight the
typical Audi rounded wheel housings accommodating the big wheels.
The cabin of the Audi R8 is pushed far forward a typical feature
of a mid-engined sports car, and as such a visual cue linking it to
the race car of the same name. Behind the cabin, positioned in front
of the rear axle, is the V8 FSI engine, a sculptured piece of
engineering visible both through the large, shield-shaped rear
window and from inside the car.
1.90 metres wide but just 4.43 metres long and 1.25 metres high:
these are the proportions of a true sports car. The 2.65-metre
wheelbase offers room for the astonishingly spacious cabin and the
longitudinally mounted engine behind it. Behind the doors, a
large-surface 'sideblade' air deflector sweeps between the wheel
arch and the roof section, delivering air for the V8 to breathe as
well as for cooling. The paint finish of the sideblades is
coordinated with the body colour.
The front end is characterised by the trapezoidal styling of the
Audi single-frame grille, flanked on the right and left by
additional large-dimensioned air intakes. For the first time, the
four-ring badge is positioned on the bonnet, above the grille. The
flat strips of the innovative LED headlights, with their clear-glass
covers, join flush to the tops of the air intakes.
The R8 is the first series-production car to offer the option of
ordering all the headlight functions dipped beam, main beam,
daytime running lights and indicators as LEDs. LED stands for
'light-emitting diodes', and represents a technology which offers
substantial advantages over conventional bulbs based on a much
Because they take up less space than conventional lights, LEDs
provide the designers with greater freedom to be creative. The
design of the strikingly three-dimensional main headlights, using
LED technology, is particularly eye-catching.
Bionics, in other words drawing design inspiration from nature, has
been deployed on the R8's headlights. The light unit has a design
reminiscent of an open pine cone. Reflector shells arranged
concentrically one behind the other, in conjunction with a powerful
LED projection system, concentrate the light from one multi-chip
LED, producing a high-luminosity, even form of driving light.
The internal reflectors of the main beam headlight are styled in a
shape inspired by the architecture of the Sydney Opera House. And in
contrast to them, the daytime running lights delimit the underside
of the headlight as narrow strips of light delivering distinctive
signals and providing an innovative visual touch. It will be
possible to order LED headlights as options from the end of 2007
The interplay of concave and convex lines contours the side-on view
of the rear end. Underneath the clearly defined separation edge
there is a flat vertical surface framed at its sides by the rear
lights also in LED technology. The third brake light strip runs
across virtually the full width of the roof, forming the termination
of the transparent engine hood.
The latter feature is yet another visual highlight. The observer
looks right onto the V8, the very heart of this sports car. Indirect
engine compartment lighting by white LEDs, enabling the engine to be
seen even in the dark, is available as an option.
Two large-format diffuser openings in the rear bumper illustrate how
intensively the styling of the Audi R8 is dictated by aerodynamics.
The two pairs of circular twin exhaust tailpipes each sit at the
right and left above the diffuser openings.
An automatically extending rear spoiler is deployed to assist the R8
in using the wind. It provides additional downforce to boost the
suction effect produced by the aerodynamic styling of the underbody
and by the diffusers. When travelling at lower speeds, the rear
spoiler automatically retracts flush with the body.
The full aluminium body is constructed in the Audi Space Frame (ASF)
design. Its perfect synthesis of minimal weight and maximum rigidity
provides the ideal foundation for optimum driving dynamics, as well
as delivering an outstanding power-to-weight ratio of just 3.71 kg
The sporty interior is dominated by a totally driver-oriented
cockpit architecture, integrating the driver between the dashboard
and the high centre 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 also
enables comfortable sports car entry and exit.
Form follows function: this design principle is implemented
throughout the Audi R8. Alongside the driver-oriented architecture,
also reflected in the styling of the side window sills, the choice
of materials also makes for a highly functional look and feel.
Looking around when in the driving seat makes one thing clear: just
like in the R8 race car, the styling and placement of all the
elements in the cockpit of this driving machine is focussed on the
essentials. The centrepoint of everything is the driver.
This combination of the aesthetic and the ergonomic is maintained in
the colours used and the overall ambience created dark hues
reflect the emphasis on engineering and are again reminiscent of the
motorsport world. The impression of professional functionality and
ergonomic styling is enhanced by the visible presence of top-quality
materials in supreme craftsmanship.
The sports seats are trimmed as standard in a Leather/Alcantara
combination, or optionally in full leather. Alternatively, the R8
can also be fitted with bucket seats, specially developed by quattro
GmbH. 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 100 litres.
With numerous trim variants and applications in Piano finish or
Carbon sigma, there are few limits to the range of customisation
options for the interior.
The drive train
Turbine-like power up to the highest rev ranges, a 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 bhp eight-cylinder engine, the evolution of
FSI petrol direct injection technology has reached a new high. This
technology has also enjoyed many triumphs in the Audi R8 race car.
The figures illustrate the outstanding potential of the
eight-cylinder unit. At 7,800 rpm the 4.2-litre engine delivers 309
kW (420 bhp) of power output. Peak torque is 430 Newton-metres from
4.500 to 6,000 rpm. And no less than 90 per cent of this maximum
torque is maintained consistently throughout a wide engine speed
range from 3,500 all the way 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 100 km/h in 4.6 seconds and reaches a top speed
of 301 km/h.
The engine is a high-revving unit. The maximum engine speed is 8,250
rpm. The advantages of this principle are superior power output at
high engine speeds and a smooth, eager responsiveness all across the
revs range. Added to this are its agility, liveliness and engine
sound, which is similar to that of a race car.
The Audi R8's dry sump lubrication another technology originating
directly from motor racing provides the ideal basis for maximum
longitudinal and lateral acceleration. It allows the V8 to be
installed lower, thereby lowering the centre of gravity and further
enhancing driving dynamics.
Two transmissions are available: a manual 6-speed gearbox or
optionally the Audi R tronic sequential-shift gearbox. Here, too,
the influence of the motorsport world is clearly evident, with a
joystick gear-shift on the centre console and, most especially, the
paddles mounted on the steering wheel, which are a long-established
ergonomic feature in motorsport. The best illustration of this is
once again the Le Mans winning Audi R8, which also enables the
driver to change gear on the steering wheel.
'Shift by wire' technology provides for very fast gear-shifting and
an outstanding power-to-weight ratio, allied to compact gearbox
dimensions. The Sport mode, with its fast shifting, guarantees the
absolute maximum in terms of driving fun. An automatic mode can also
Such a powerful Audi is of course fitted with permanent four-wheel
drive, which distributes the power variably to the front and rear
axles by way of a viscous clutch. On the Audi R8 the legendary
quattro system is adapted to the axle load distribution typical of
The chassis features forged aluminium double wishbones at the front
and rear. At the front they are triangulated, while at the rear the
top one is triangulated and the bottom one is a triangulated
wishbone with a track rod. This provides for optimum wheel control,
and is a geometry which has proved itself to be the ideal solution
in delivering agility, maximum steering precision and precisely
defined self-steering characteristics.
Direct, hydraulic rack-and-pinion steering provides optimum feedback
to assist the driver.
The spring and damper set-up is stiff in order to deliver maximum
driving dynamics, while still providing a quite astonishing level of
ride comfort. This is particularly true when the 'Audi magnetic
ride' adaptive damper system is chosen as an alternative to the
standard gas-filled shock absorbers.
The reason for this is that these shock absorbers employ an
innovative technology. Instead of the conventional damper fluid, a
magnetorheological fluid is used in other words, a fluid whose
viscosity can be influenced by an electromagnetic field. This effect
enables the damping characteristic to be influenced electronically
at will and instantaneously, by applying a voltage to the
Audi magnetic ride uses this property to deliver the correct damping
forces in every driving situation, thus optimising ride comfort and
driving dynamics. A computer equipped with sensor technology
determines the prevailing driving situation in a matter of
milliseconds. Drivers can choose from two driving programs depending
on whether they want to drive in a highly sporty style with the
magnetorheological fluid adjusted to a low viscosity or with the
emphasis more on ride comfort.
The Audi R8 is fitted with 6-arm 18-inch wheels as standard, and can
optionally be ordered with 19-inch wheels. The 235/40 size tyres at
the front and up to 285/35 at the rear provide the necessary
road-holding. This tyre configuration also ensures that this
mid-engined sports car is always able to translate the dynamism of
its drive train and chassis into optimum grip and maximum lateral
The mid-engined sports car's long wheelbase and extremely low centre
of gravity ensure that it always retains maximum stability,
resulting in superb agility, finely attuned responsiveness to any
driver input, and high levels of safety.
Equipment and trim
Even the standard equipment of the Audi R8 meets the high demands of
customers in this segment. Xenon plus lights, LED rear lights and
daytime running lights, 18-inch aluminium wheels, an audio system
with 7-inch monitor, an anti-theft alarm and Leather/Alcantara
interior trim are just some of the items on the extensive list of
The range of optional extras leaves virtually nothing to be desired.
A Bang & Olufsen sound system, featuring an output of 465 watts and
12 specially designed speakers, delivers surround sound of the
highest standard. A microphone-based vehicle noise compensation
system adjusts audio levels to changing road conditions and speeds.
The acoustic parking system and a rear-view camera help the driver
to manoeuvre into even the tightest of spaces. The radio/navigation
system plus, featuring a large-format colour monitor and MMI keypad,
combines extensive functionality with extreme user-friendliness.
A range of coordinated and ideally combinable design and leather
trim packages from Audi and from quattro GmbH can turn any R8 into
the customers personal dream car.
The wheels range offers design alternatives in sizes of 18 and 19
inches, fitted with 235/35 size tyres at the front and up to 295/30
at the rear. A total of eight exterior colours are available, from
Ibis White to Phantom Black, pearl effect.
The Audi R8 is being built on a small-lot production line in a
specially constructed new block at the Audi plant in Neckarsulm. The
entire production process from the bodyshell construction to final
assembly is organised in the same way as a craft workshop. Small
teams of specialists accompany every step of production, subjecting
every part and component to intense scrutiny. This ensures that
every one of the maximum of 15 cars per day built will more than
match the customary high quality standards of the Audi product
The equipment specifications, data and prices stated here refer
to the model range offered for sale in Germany. Subject to
amendment; errors and omissions excepted.