Audi R8

Production Cars 3 Oct 2006
Audi R8

Unveiled at the Paris Motor Show, the R8 combines the Audi Space Frame aluminium construction with a 420-hp V8 engine and the quattro four wheel drive system. With a top speed of 300 km/h it is the fastest production car ever produced by Audi.


Audi R8 - Side viewThe R8 is scheduled to open for ordering in late 2006, with prices expected to start from around 114,000 Euros.

From the official Press Release:

According to Audi, "The Audi R8 combines the time-honoured hallmarks of the best of the classic sports cars with futuristic construction, transmission and suspension technologies, all underpinned by […] the quattro four-wheel-drive system."

Design

The Audi R8 is inspired by the 2003 Le Mans quattro Concept. It is 4.43-metre long, 1.90-metre wide and 1.25-metre high.

Audi R8 - 3/4 front view Audi R8 - 3/4 rear view

The exterior lines are accentuated by the bi-colour paint finish, with ‘side blades’ in a contrasting shade and a choice of eight colour combinations.

Technical Features

Engine

Audi R8 - Engine compartmentThe R8 is powered by a V8 unit which is mounted longitudinally directly behind the cockpit: it delivers 420 hp and 430Nm of torque, has a 8,250 rpm limit and enables to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.62 seconds, while the top speed breaks the barrier of 300 km/h (a first for an Audi series model).

Thanks to the aluminum construction the R8 has a weight limited to 1,560 kg, with a resulting power-to-weight ratio of 269hp per tonne.

Chassis and powertrain

The four wheel drive system can be combined with a six-speed manual transmission or the racing-inspired R tronic sequential shift gearbox with joystick and paddle control, which uses ‘shift-by-wire’ technology to provide rapid gear changes.

By mounting the potent eight-cylinder unit as close as possible to the centre of the vehicle, inspired by racing legends such as the Le Mans-winning R8 sports prototype and Auto Union Type C Grand Prix car, Audi engineers have achieved a 44 per cent front / 56 per cent rear weight distribution for optimum handling balance.

Audi R8 - cutaway viewDry sump engine lubrication – another racing-derived element – also furthers this aim by enabling the V8 to be mounted as close to the road as possible to lower the centre of gravity.

This classic configuration, combined with advanced Audi Space Frame (ASF) construction mating lightweight aluminium panelling to an aluminium space frame, provides the very best operating conditions for the futuristic chassis, which itself contains a high proportion of aluminium components.

The front and rear double wishbone suspension delivers exceptional agility, and can be controlled by either a more traditional spring-and-damper set-up giving a remarkably composed and comfortable ride by super car standards, or by the advanced Audi magnetic ride system first seen in the new TT Coupé.

Suspensions

Audi R8 - Side viewThe sophisticated dampers fitted as part of the optional Audi magnetic ride system swap conventional damper fluid for a magnetorheological fluid containing minute magnetic particles that can be influenced by an electromagnetic field. By applying a voltage to the system’s electromagnets, the viscosity of the fluid is altered by the affected magnetic particles, increasing resistance to damper movement to iron out pitch and roll when necessary, and reducing resistance when ride comfort takes precedence. The system constantly monitors road conditions and driving style and reacts accordingly.

The relationship between the road and the 19-inch 5 double spoke design alloy wheels – fitted with 235/30 size tyres at the front and 295/30 size at the rear – is made crystal clear at all times by the fast-reacting hydraulic rack-and-pinion steering.

That relationship is also constantly moderated by the legendary quattro permanent four-wheel-drive system, which by apportioning power to front and rear axles in constantly varying degrees dictated by road conditions prevents the tendency for ‘waywardness’ sometimes exhibited by powerful mid-engine, rear-drive sports cars. An electronically activated rear spoiler also deploys when sensors detect that composure at higher speeds would benefit from additional down-force.

Interior

Beneath the skin is a deceptively spacious two-seat cabin with more than a hint of racing car inspiration in its layout and appearance, and typical Audi luxury evident in its extensive Fine Nappa leather upholstery and trim and generous equipment.

Audi R8 - Engine compartment Audi R8 - Engine compartment

Audi R8 - 3/4 rear viewThe 2.65-metre wheel base also makes provision for luggage space behind the seats and also in the front compartment ahead of the cabin, which has a 100-litre capacity.

Production

The new R8 will be built at the Audi facility in Neckarsulm, Germany – the centre of Audi aluminium construction expertise, and also the home of the brand’s quattro GmbH high performance subsidiary.

A total of 15 cars will be built per day, each element of the production process being controlled and subjected to intense scrutiny by small teams of specialists.

(Source: Audi)

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