New Audi R8 gets race-car tech and a facelift

The Province - - DRIVING - ALEX REID Driv­ing.ca

Audi has just pulled the cov­ers off its lat­est R8, with slightly re­vised styling, a lit­tle more power and a host of new tech­nol­ogy sure to make your head — but not the car — spin.

The Ger­man au­tomaker says the new R8 shares about 50 per cent of its parts with the R8 LMS GT3 race car, and 60 per cent with the GT4.

The ex­te­rior styling of the new car has only sub­tle changes. Up front, the grille is wider and lower, with larger air in­lets, and a wider split­ter keeps it all hun­kered down. Above Audi’s trade­mark grille is a set of slits the au­tomaker says are meant to throw back to the Ur-qu­at­tro, the leg­endary rally car. At the back end is an ex­tended dif­fuser.

Of course the R8 comes with a V10, but there are now two choices: the V10 or V10+. Power num­bers were not re­leased but ex­pect an in­crease over the stan­dard 532 and 602 horse­power, re­spec­tively. The dry-sump pump mod­ule can with­stand 1.5 lat­eral G of ac­cel­er­a­tion, and the oil­ing sys­tem has its own, sep­a­rate ra­di­a­tor to keep things cool.

Audi has im­proved many ar­eas of the R8, es­pe­cially brak­ing. It now stops 1.5 me­tres shorter than be­fore, thanks to the tun­ing of the elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol and avail­able car­bon-ce­ramic disc brakes.

There are stan­dard 19-inch wheels, with the op­tion to up­grade to 20-inch fully milled ul­tra­light wheels.

The han­dling is said to have been im­proved with op­tional dy­namic steer­ing; stan­dard is elec­tro-me­chan­i­cal power steer­ing, which has also been tuned for bet­ter road feel. The front sta­bi­lizer bar can be had in car­bon fi­bre-re­in­forced poly­mer and alu­minum, which sheds 4.4 pounds and adds more pre­ci­sion and sta­bil­ity to the han­dling.

There are now three drive modes to make Audi’s “ev­ery­day su­per­car” more us­able: dry, wet and snow. If you’re out there driv­ing your R8 in the Cana­dian win­ter, we salute you.

Coupe and Spy­der ver­sions of the new R8 are ex­pected to hit the sales floor in Europe in the first quar­ter of 2019. North Amer­i­can pric­ing and avail­abil­ity will be avail­able closer to the re­lease date.

— AUDI

Sub­tle changes to the Audi R8’s ex­te­rior styling in­clude a wider, lower grill.

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