The R8 will launch Audi into the supercar bracket, and insiders have got the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S and BMW M6 firmly in their sights. No final word on prices yet, but the entry-level V8 is likely to cost around £70,000, the V10 north of £80,000.
Expect a mid-mounted 420bhp 4.2-litre V8, as used in the RS4, to propel the launch model. Power is sent to all four wheels via either a six-speed manual gearbox or paddleshift automatic transmission.
The other engine will be the 5.2-litre V10, detuned for service in the S8 and S6, but kicking out around 500bhp in the R8. That should make for the fastest series Audi in history, with a 0-62mph sprint in close to 4.1sec.
Both engines have FSI direct injection, to boost output and save fuel, as honed by Audi’s all-conquering Le Mans racer that donated its name for the R8.
The R8 uses an adapted version of the Gallardo’s aluminium spaceframe chassis. The wheelbase measures around 100mm longer and the windscreen is less raked, to boost cabin space. A targa version is tipped to follow.
Only the Le Mans concept’s central tailpipes have disappeared, although the Gallardo alloys will make way.
Audi’s 420bhp 4.2-litre V8 and 500bhp 5.2-litre V10 FSI direct injection units will power all four wheels.
Lightweight aluminium spaceframe shared with the Gallardo, but stretched to boost cabin room.