The Audi R8 is a sports car with a longitudinally mounted mid-engine, and uses Audi’s ‘trademark’ quattro permanent four-wheel drive system. It was introduced by the German automaker Audi AG in 2006. The car was exclusively designed, developed, and manufactured by Audi AG’s high performance private subsidiary company, quattro GmbH, and is derived from the Lamborghini Gallardo. The fundamental construction of the R8 is based on the “Audi Space Frame”, and uses an aluminium monocoque which is built around a space frame. The car is built by quattro GmbH in a newly renovated factory at Audi’s ‘aluminium site’ at Neckarsulm in Germany.
In 2005, Audi announced that the name of the successful Audi R8 race car would be used for a new road car in 2007, the Audi R8, based on the Audi Le Mans quattro concept car, appearing at the 2003 International Geneva Motor Show, and 2003 Frankfurt International Motor Show. The R8 road car was officially launched at the Paris Auto Show on 30 September 2006. There was some confusion with the name, which the car shares with the 24 Hours of Le Mans winning R8 Le Mans Prototype (LMP), and also the 1989 Mk2 Rover 200, codenamed R8.
The Audi R8 is used as a safety car in Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters and British Superbike Championship racing series.
To produce the R8 at quattro GmbH, seventy workers fit 5,000 unique parts by hand. The factory at Neckarsulm, redeveloped at a cost of €28 million, produces between eight and fifteen cars a day. Ninety-five lasers inspect the entire car in five seconds to ensure that over 220 measurements are within 0.1 millimetres of the programmed plans.To produce the R8 at quattro GmbH, seventy workers fit 5,000 unique parts by hand. The factory at Neckarsulm, redeveloped at a cost of €28 million, produces between eight and fifteen cars a day. Ninety-five lasers inspect the entire car in five seconds to ensure that over 220 measurements are within 0.1 millimetres of the programmed plans.
The 2-seat coupé is currently available in Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia and Japan. The R8 Spider, an open-top roadster model, followed in 2009. In Latin America, the R8 became available at the end of 2008 at dealers in Mexico City, Bogota, Medellin, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Lima and Santiago. Customers bought every unit available for 2008 within a week after the R8 premiered at the Bogota International Auto Show and Auto Expo of Medellin.
In Asia, the R8 is available in India, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Philippines and Hong Kong, and has been available in China, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Indonesia since 2008.
The Audi R8 was initially equipped with a 4.2 litre V8 internal combustion engine. Specific detail: it is an all-aluminium alloy 32-valve (four valves per cylinder) petrol engine, utilising Fuel Stratified Injection (FSI), and has a displacement of 4,163 cc (254.0 cu in). It develops a motive power output of 309 kilowatts (420 PS; 414 bhp), and generates 430 newton metres (317 ft·lbf) of torque, on 98 RON ‘Super Unleaded’ petrol. It is basically the same engine used in the B7 Audi RS4, but is modified to use dry sump lubrication system. This V8 is a highly reworked, high-revving variant from the existing 4.2 litre V8, but includes cylinder-direct fuel injection (Fuel Stratified Injection), and four valves per cylinder, instead of five (as used on the non-FSI variants). It also uses two chain-driven dual overhead camshafts (DOHC) per cylinder bank, and utilises variable valve timing for both inlet and exhaust camshafts.
A new additional variant with a 5.2 litre Fuel Stratified Injection (FSI) V10 engine was added on the 9th of December 2008, which produces 386 kW (525 PS; 518 bhp) and 530 N·m (391 ft·lbf).
The transmission options are either a Lamborghini sourced manual gearbox with metal gate for the shift lever, or an Audi-developed “R tronic” gearbox – which is a single-clutch semi-automatic electrohydraulic manual transmission, without a traditional clutch pedal. These options are the same as those available on the Lamborghini Gallardo. A double clutch Direct-Shift Gearbox (DSG), now badged by Audi as “S tronic”, is not available (as of December 2009).
Audi AG unveiled the Audi R8 V10 on 9 December 2008. It uses a 5.2 litre FSI internal combustion engine, based on the unit in the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4, but is detuned to produce a motive power output of 386 kilowatts (525 PS; 518 bhp), and generate 530 newton metres (391 ft·lbf) of torque. Compared to the V8 variant, the R8 V10′s performance numbers are enhanced. Audi estimates the new 0-100 kilometres per hour (62 mph) time as only 3.9 seconds, 60-124 mph in 8.1 seconds, and a top speed of 196 mph (315.4 km/h). Other changes to the V10 version of the R8 include some aesthetic differences such as all-LED headlights, interior enhancements, and a more aggressive body styling, larger rear brakes and unique roadwheels.
It was initially thought that this version of the R8 was going to have the same engine as the C6 Audi RS6, a 5.0 litre V10 TFSI ‘biturbo’ engine, which produces 580 PS (427 kW; 572 bhp). However, some components of the twin-turbo system overheated, and one prototype was destroyed by fire at the Nürburgring. This model is showing at the 2009 North American International Auto Show. This version of the R8 appears in the trailers and in the box art of the Xbox 360 racing game, Forza Motorsport 3.