Following the early release of a lone teaser image on Twitter as well as numerous spy photos, Audi has decided to officially unveil the 2013 Audi R8. This is the first major update the R8 has received since the model was first launched in 2005.
Exterior design has changed very little from the previous generation R8, and it takes a sharp eye to spot the new design elements that have been added for the 2013 model year. Audi engineers have left the basic theme largely intact, but have made slight tweaks to the front bumper and grille as well as similar changes to the rear of the car, which now features a slightly larger rear diffuser as well as brand new circular tailpipes. The most noticeable styling change is the addition of brand new LED headlights and taillights which are standard equipment on all R8 models and should help to both align the R8 with Audi’s new design language and give the car a unique appearance during nighttime driving.
The base R8 model retains its familiar 430 horsepower 4.2 liter V8 but Audi engineers have replaced the old optional six speed R-tronic transmission with a brand new seven-speed S-tronic dual clutch automatic gearbox. The new transmission increases fuel economy slightly and helps the V8 powered R8 make the dash from 0 to 62 in 4.3 seconds. The new transmission is standard equipment on all V10 models and helps those models complete the sprint to 62mph in a scant 3.6 seconds. However, for those who prefer to shift their own gears when piloting their R8, a six speed manual gearbox can also be equipped – and of course it has a Lamborghini-style gated shifter.
In addition to the exterior and mechanical tweaks made for 2013, Audi has saved the biggest change for last, and that is the addition of a new model to the R8 lineup. Known officially as the R8 V10 Plus, the new model (which starts at a lofty $210,000) serves as the flagship to the R8 model range and brings even more tweaks and power to the party.
The R8 V10 Plus maintains many of the same styling and mechanical tweaks that are found on lesser R8 trims, but Audi engineers have added a few extra styling cues that help distinguish it from its lesser siblings. The front of the car gets chrome accents for the grille and a standard carbon fiber splitter. The carbon fiber treatment also includes the side blades, outside mirrors, and lateral air inlets. The rear of the car follows suit with a carbon fiber enhanced plastic diffuser that houses black integrated exhaust tips.
Power for the R8 V10 Plus comes from the same 5.2 liter v10 that is found in the regular V10 model, but Audi engineers have increased its power to 550 horsepower - 25 horsepower gain over the 525 horsepower that the previous generation R8 V10 wielded. Torque figures have also increased slightly, to 398 lb-ft, which is a gain of 8 lb ft. All of this newfound power and torque is transmitted through Audi’s S -tronic seven speed automatic gearbox, which helps the Plus model reach 62 mph in 3.5 seconds with a final top speed of 197 mph. Braking duties are handled by ceramic brake discs, covered by 19 inch wheels.
Customers that are interested in purchasing the 2013 R8 for their garage, will be pleased to hear that Audi will begin deliveries in the European market by the end of this year with U.S. deliveries expected to begin early next year. In the meantime Audi has also released a brief video about the 2013 Audi R8 which can be seen below.