Audi has announced a raft of updates for the R8, aimed at bestowing it with "a more defined road presence and even greater performance". First things first, you'll be relieved to know that the naturally-aspirated V10 remains, staving off downsizing, turbocharging, hybridisation, or a combination of the three for now. In the standard Coupe and Spyder models it produces 570hp (up from 540hp previously) while the V10 Plus - henceforth renamed 'V10 Performance', in line with Audi's other most potent offerings - gains an extra 10hp for a total of 620hp.
Torque is up marginally in both engines as well, to 406 and 428lb ft respectively, thanks to optimised titanium valvetrain components. The 0-62mph sprint takes the Coupe 3.4 seconds, the Spyder 3.5, the Performance Coupe 3.1 seconds and the Performance Spyder 3.2. Top speeds are between 200 and 205mph for all iterations, a significant milestone for the standard (V8 and non-Plus) R8, which has never before been able to call itself a 200mph car.
Updates to the suspension are said to provide greater stability, while steering response and feedback are also improved. The Performance models gain three additional drive programs as standard in the shape of dry, wet and snow modes, and enhancements to the car's ESC see its stopping distance decreased by up to 1.5 metres from 62mph and five metres from 124mph. Wheels are 19-inches in diameter, with steel brake discs standard and carbon-ceramic items optional.
Visually Audi has certainly delivered on its promise of greater presence, although that may not necessarily be a good thing. The design appears overly fussy from many angles and downright ungainly from others, while the wider Singleframe grille only adds a greater expanse of black plastic to the front end of the circa £100,000 car.
Three variant-dependent exterior packages are available which, in Audi's own words, simply "add various highlights to the front splitter, the side trims and the diffuser". Inside, meanwhile, new colour and stitching options are allow greater customisation, with the Audi Exclusive range giving customers the opportunity to personalise things further still.
A fairly underwhelming update aesthetically then, although that will of course be subjective, but a very promising one where it matters. All four versions of the updated R8 are set to go on sale in Europe early next year, so it won't be long until we get to find out just how well the new cars perform.
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