The Best Car at the Detroit Auto Show?
"The Audi R8 5.2 FSI quattro was my pick of the first day at Detroit," writes Noel McKeegan from the North American International Auto Show which opened today. "It was the most aesthetically striking car that wasn't a concept, and with the 525 hp 5.2 liter V10 engine replacing the 420 bhp 4.2 V8, performance has gone another level. With the quattro all-wheel drive, LED-headlights and aluminum body with a very curvaceous rear end treatment, it really is a knockout."
"The key figures are that the V10 makes 105 more horses than the 4.2-liter V8 R8, 78 more foot pounds of torque, gets to 100 kmh in 3.9 seconds and has a top speed of 316 km/h."
Audi's press release follows:
Ingolstadt—Audi is launching the next variant of its top-of-the-line model. With the R8, the brand has established itself at the forefront of high-end sports cars from the very start—and now comes the R8 V10. Its 5.2-liter, ten-cylinder engine churns out 386 kW (525 hp) and 530 Nm (390.91 lb-ft) of torque, which makes for breathtaking performance. With superior Audi technologies such as quattro all-wheel drive, the lightweight aluminum body, the innovative all-LED headlights, and its striking design, the
R8 V10 takes pole position against the competition.
The R8 V10 is the result of cumulative know-how from Audi's string of Le Mans victories. Its naturally aspirated engine combines racing technology such as dry sump lubrication with FSI gasoline direct injection. The ten-cylinder design is the perfect synthesis for impressive top performance, mighty pulling power, and low weight. Starting in 2009, this engine will also prove its potential on the world's racetracks—in the new R8 racing car Audi is developing for customer teams in conformance with the GT3 rules.
The V10 engine in the production sports car will be almost identical in construction to the one in the racing version. Its displacement is 5,204 cc, at 6,500 rpm it delivers 530 Nm (390.91 lb-ft) of torque, at 8,000 rpm its power tops out at 386 kW (525 hp).
The specific power output is 100.9 hp per liter of displacement—and each hp has to propel only 3.09 kilograms (6.91 lb) of weight, because the Audi R8 V10 in the version with the six-speed manual gearshift weighs only 1,620 kilograms (3571 lb). The engine accounts for 258 of these kilograms (569 lb)—that's only 31 kilos (68 lb) more than the V8.
The Audi R8 5.2 FSI quattro rockets from zero to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 3.9 seconds. In the version with the sequentially shifting R tronic it reaches 200 km/h (124.27 mph) in another 8.1 seconds. Even then its propulsive power hardly lessens: it's sufficient to reach a top speed of 316 km/h (196.35 mph). The immense force, the spontaneity and the thrust of the acceleration, plus the sound of the engine—all these impressions coalesce into a breathtaking sports car experience. The V10 plays a concert with growling bass tones and powerful high notes, which grows into a grandiose fortissimo as the engine revs up. This sonorous acceleration doesn't reach its limit until 8,700 rpm.
The 5.2-liter powerplant uses direct injection according to the FSI principle developed by Audi. A common rail system injects the fuel into the combustion chambers with up to 120 bar of pressure. Direct injection reduces the susceptibility to knocking and provides a certain amount of cooling through the evaporation of the fuel, which in turn supports a high compression ratio of 12.5:1. This in turn contributes to superior performance and improves fuel economy. The R8 V10 with R tronic gets by on an average of 13.7 liters per 100 km (17.17 US mpg).
For maximum dynamics: low center of gravity engine
The technical refinements of the long-stroke ten-cylinder engine include dry sump lubrication, which allows the engine to be mounted low within the chassis. The wide cylinder angle of 90 degrees also makes for a low center of gravity. The crankcase is a high-strength aluminum-alloy casting produced in a complex process. The connecting rods are made of forged steel, the pistons of aluminum. The four camshafts are chain-driven and each is adjustable through 42 degrees. This provides great latitude in controlling the valve timing. In combination with the straight, flow-optimized ducts of the intake manifold, this improves the charge throughout the entire speed range.
The R8 5.2 FSI quattro has a six-speed transmission. A precise and smooth-shifting manual transmission comes as standard equipment. The sequential R tronic is available as an option. The high-tech gearshift conveys an authentic racing feel—with the rocker switches at the steering wheel and the short shifting times of usually less than one-tenth of a second. When the driver actuates the Launch Control program by pressing a button, the R8 V10 takes off in a vehement quick-start with electronically controlled tire slip—both with the R tronic and with the manual transmission.
A contributing factor to the wide lead in traction and driving safety of the Audi R8 V10 over the competition is quattro all-wheel drive—it's the superior technology especially for a high-performance sports car. Four powered wheels get more grip than two. They enable the driver to step on the gas sooner when coming out of a curve. It's not only the traction that benefits, but also the transverse dynamics and the stability.
44 to 56 percent—the ideal axle load distribution
The Audi R8 chassis offers both dynamic performance and astonishing levels of comfort on long distances. This high-performance sports car from Audi eagerly responds to any steering action with instant ease, achieves lateral acceleration of up to 1.2 g, and handles any situation with superb driving safety. Its mid-engine design provides an ideal axle load distribution of 44 to 56 percent.
The wheel suspensions on dual aluminum wishbones front and rear—a classic racing technology—are optimized for neutral self-steering characteristics. Even more than in the eight-cylinder R8, this setup is designed for maximum performance. 19-inch wheels equipped with tire pressure monitoring display are standard equipment. Their 10-spoke Y design is exclusive to the R8 V10. Tire sizes are 235/35 front and 295/30 rear.
The car features a high-end damper technology as standard: Audi magnetic ride adapts the characteristics of the suspension in milliseconds to the nature of the road surface and to the driving style. Suspended in the oil of the shock absorbers are tiny magnetic particles which, when a voltage is applied, rearrange themselves so as to slow down the flow of oil through the valves.
In the R8 V10, deceleration is provided by an extremely muscular braking system—eight brake pistons at the front and four at the rear grasp the brake disks, which are ventilated and perforated to ensure unimpeded heat transfer. The brake disks on the front axle have a diameter of 380 millimeters (15 in); the rear discs span 356 millimeters (14 in).
The R8 5.2 FSI quattro is optionally available with a ceramic brake system whose disks are made of a composite material containing high-strength carbon fibers and abrasion-resistant silicon carbide. These are especially light: their combined weight is nine kilograms (19.84 lb) less than the weight of equivalent steel disks. The ceramic brakes can easily cope with the harsher requirements of racing, won't corrode, and have a typical service life of 300,000 kilometers (186,400 miles). Their calipers are painted charcoal gray and emblazoned with the inscription "Audi ceramic".
Typically Audi: Sharp lines and an elegantly curved roof
The wide, full shape of the R8 5.2 FSI quattro seems to hug the road. The brawny proportions and prominent wheel wells underscore its potential. The high-precision styling of the lines and the elegant curve of the roof are typical Audi features. A continuous contour optically connects the front, the wheel wells, the sides and the rear. Located well forward, the cab visually expresses the mid-engine design. The vertical air scoops (sideblades) on the sides are also indicative of the engine location. The massive aluminum gas cap is mounted flush within the right sideblade.
The design of the Audi R8 has already impressed experts, as evidenced by the double victory in the "World Car of the Year Awards 2008". In the ten-cylinder model, the styling has been sharpened up even more.
The front air inlets, which feed air to the coolers, and the lip of the front apron are painted in high-gloss black. The number of cross-braces has been reduced from four to two. The vanes of the single-frame grille have a striking chrome finish.
A very distinctive highlight of the R8 V10 are the all-LED headlights as standard equipment. Audi is the world's first automaker to use LEDs for the high beam, low beam, daytime running lights, and turn signals. Each headlight integrates 54 of these high-tech light sources. With a color temperature of 6,000 Kelvin the LED light closely resembles daylight, which is less tiring to the eyes in night driving. Further advantages of the LEDs include brilliant illumination, low energy consumption, and a virtually unlimited service life.
Special details also distinguish the body of the R8 V10. Its sideblades are more accentuated than in the eight-cylinder version. The side sills are more striking and wider; the exhaust grilles at the rear windows have a matt aluminum look. Through the large rear window, the ten-cylinder engine is clearly visible in its consummate technical beauty.
When in motion, this Audi high-performance sports car creates a downforce that keeps it in firm contact with the road—thanks to a rear spoiler which deploys automatically at 100 km/h and the fully enclosed underbody, which terminates in a sharply upward-curved diffuser. The dominant color at the rear end is high-gloss black, including the settings of the LED tail lights. The air outlets at the rear end also have only two cross-braces, and the exhaust system terminates in two large oval tailpipes.
Audi sets the example—in body weight and rigidity
The body of a sports car must be especially lightweight and rigid. Audi meets these requirements with the technology of the Audi Space Frame (ASF) and its high-tech aluminum construction. The body-in-white of the R8 V10, which includes an engine frame made of ultra-light magnesium, weighs only 210 kilograms (463 lb), and the quality of its lightweight design—the relation of weight to torsional rigidity—is the best in the sports car segment. The body is composed of profile extrusions, sheet aluminum and very complex gusset castings, all held together by 99 meters (325 ft) of welding seams, 782 rivets, and 308 special screws.
The interior of the R8 V10 provides a unique racing ambience at the luxury level. Its dominant element is the so-called monoposto—a wide arc that contains the steering wheel and the cockpit. As always in an Audi, the workmanship is of the highest quality.
The surfaces of the dashboard and doors are lined with fine materials and adorned with precisely stitched decorative seams. Many customizing solutions are available: Audi supplies leather in a wide range of colors, packages with a carbon and piano-lacquer finish, or a made-to-measure luggage set. quattro GmbH, which has developed and is producing the R8 V10, also provides solutions for unconventional requirements.
The great everyday utility of the Audi R8 V10 is based in part on its spacious interior made possible by the long wheelbase of 2.65 meters (8.69 ft). Drivers and passengers of any size will always find a perfect sitting position. Visibility too is surprisingly good. Slender hinge pillars optimize the obliquely forward field of view. Another advantage for convenient everyday use is the luggage space: 100 liters (3.53 cu ft) fit under the front hood, another 90 liters (3.18 cu ft) can be stowed behind the seats. There is also room for two golf bags.
The Audi R8 5.2 FSI quattro combines its colossal performance with a generous complement of standard equipment. Highlights include heatable seat covers made of Fine Nappa leather, a driver information system, the navigation system plus and the Bang & Olufsen sound system along with deluxe automatic air conditioning and an alarm system. The instruments and the gearshift knob are decorated with red rings; the footrests and the rocker switches of the R tronic have an aluminum finish.
The list of options includes other highly attractive features—such as the Audi parking system advanced with its integrated rearview camera or numerous Audi exclusive customization options. Various leather packages provide a luxurious touch, while the bucket seats from the Audi exclusive program bring a highly concentrated racing atmosphere into the R8 V10.
The Audi R8 5.2 FSI quattro will be rolled out in Germany in the second quarter of 2009 at a basic price of EUR 142,400.
To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.
If you believe that you may have received this message in error please let us know.