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Geneva show: Audi sheds light on new R8

Light on: Audi’s all-new R8 will get laser highbeam headlights as an option once it hits the market in Europe later this year and in Australia in 2016.

Second-generation R8 set to expand Audi’s reach into top-end sportscar market

18 Feb 2015

AUDI’S second-generation R8 sports flagship has been teased ahead of its expected unveiling at next month’s Geneva motor show, but it is the hidden content that whets the appetite for the booming coupe due in Europe later this year and in Australia from 2016.

Built on sister brand Lamborghini’s Huracan platform that was launched at the same show last year, the new R8 is expected to launch with a normally aspirated 5.2-litre V10 engine that, as before, is shared with the Italian raging bull marque.

But according to Britain’s Top Gear, Audi is hinting at V6, diesel and GT3-spec variants in a much broader R8 range that, down the track, will include an electric e-tron R8 with a 400km-plus range.

The extra variants will give the mid-engined super-coupe a full suite of variants to take on Europe’s top-selling top-end sportscars, including those from the reigning champ, Porsche.

The free-spinning V10 again will eschew forced induction, and again come in a choice of two power outputs – this time 402kW and 454kW. This compares with 386kW and 402kW in the current V10 R8.

So far, there is no mention of a V8 to replace the 4.2-litre unit of the current range.

The six-speed manual gearbox is expected to be axed due to low sales, with the new R8 launching only with a seven-speed S-Tronic dual-clutch automatic.

Audi’s trademark quattro all-wheel drive will also be to the fore, but Top Gear also deduces that a rear-drive variant might also be in the offing for the purists.

Naturally, a topless Spyder version will be coming, perhaps two years down the track if the previous generation is any guide.

For now, the only official word from Audi is that the R8 will get high-tech headlights – hence the teaser shot with the cloak pulled back from the front corner.

The accompanying press release says standard issue will be a LED headlights made up of 37 LEDs, but these can be supplemented by an optional laser high-beam lighting module that can achieve almost twice the lighting range of the normal lights.

Each laser module is said to be made up of four high-intensity laser diodes that are bundled into a blue-light laser beam before a phosphor converter transforms the blue light into pure white light.

The laser high-beam was trialled last year on the R18 e-tron quattro race car at the Le Mans 24 Hours before being fitted to the limited-edition R8 LMX.

Believe it or not, the outgoing R8 is Audi’s oldest model, having made its debut at the 2006 Paris motor show ahead of its Australia showroom debut one year later, in October 2007.

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