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The New Audi R8

Audi presented the new R8 at the Geneva Motor Show, unveiling the second generation of the high-performance sports car. The company drew heavily on its extensive motorsports experience when developing the new model, which it built from the ground up. The result is a vehicle that's more hardcore in every way possible. It not only looks dramatic, but will get drivers' hearts pumping whether they're going for a drive through the countryside or doing a hot lap at the local track.

Like the first-generation model, the 2016 Audi R8 has a mid-engine layout that lends itself to excellent balance. The 5.2-liter V-10 engine comes in two different versions. One kicks out a potent 540 horsepower, while the other dials things up for a peak 610 horsepower. The top-of-the-line version of the sports car can dash from 0 to 62 mph in just 3.2 seconds, plus has a top speed of 205.1 mph. The engine works with a seven-speed S tronic transmission, which sends power to all four wheels via a quattro drive system that Audi recently developed. Torque distribution shifts between the two axles as needed, with the ability to send all of it to the front or rear axle. Drivers can control the sports exhaust system from the car's interior simply by pushing a button.

Not only is the new R8 powerful, it also tips the scales at just 3,205.5 pounds. That's up to 110.2 pounds less than the previous model, depending on the configuration. The sports car gained a considerable amount of new equipment, plus boasts a structure that's 40 percent more rigid than the 2015 model, thanks in part to the Audi Space Frame that weighs only 441 pounds. Aluminum and carbon fiber reinforced plastics are used throughout the advanced frame, which not only shed weight but also help the car behave well in different crash scenarios. Aluminum makes up the front end of the vehicle and the roof on the rear portion. Plenty of downforce is generated by the underbody and diffuser, keeping the tires firmly planted on the road or track. Handling is further enhanced by the double wishbone suspension in the front and rear, which is a design lifted straight out of the racing world.

The exterior is wider and flatter than before, making the R8 appear more athletic. The hexagonal grille is larger and comes with a stylish mesh insert. The taillights are slightly different, while the rear grilles have been redesigned and also feature mesh inserts. As for the tailpipes, they're in a trapezoidal shape instead of the circular design used on the first generation of the R8. V-10 Plus models come with a carbon-fiber-reinforced rear wing.

Drivers enjoy improved forward visibility at night, thanks to the standard LED headlights. Dynamic turn signals can be had on the front and are standard for the rear. Europeans will have the option of adding laser high-beam headlights to the car, but so far they haven't been approved for use in the United States.

When drivers climb into the car, they'll be transported to the world of high-tech motorsports. Like in a race car, the physical controls are clustered together on the steering wheel, allowing the driver to make selections quickly and safely. The displays are all digital, and MMI navigation plus with MMI touch comes as part of the standard offering. The main 12.3-inch display can be set to different modes, which provide the driver with helpful graphics and information such as acceleration, deceleration, driving programs, lateral forces, engine power and torque output. The display also shows a shift light, letting drivers know when they're reached the limit on a particular gear. Buyers can add a clear coat carbon fiber trim to the interior.

The sport seats feature a completely new design with an integrated headrest. Bucket seats are optional on the V-10 but are standard on the V-10 plus, providing more comfort and support for the driver and passenger. Buyers can go with a more traditional Nappa leather upholstery, or select a more modern look and feel by choosing a combination of Alcantara and pearl Nappa leather. Two leather packages increase the luxurious feel of the cabin, as does the optional diamond stitching.

Fans of the Audi R8 don't have too long of a wait ahead of them. The new model launches in the summer of 2015. Audi still hasn't released pricing info for the United States. In Europe, the 2016 R8 V-10 goes for 165,000 euros and the V-10 plus has a starting price of 187,400 euros.



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