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Autoweek and Fourtitude were able to enjoy some seat time in the Audi R8 V12 TDI LeMans concept before its official unveiling in Geneva last week. Their drive was short (about an hour with a 50 mph speed limit imposed by Audi's boffins), but their time at the airport adjacent to Sebring International Raceway has made an impression.

The crimson beast we saw in Geneva was the same concept that was displayed in Detroit, simply sporting a new paint job, but spending quality time with the R8 V12 TDI revealed a few interesting tidbits about the concept. First, the firewall behind the driver and passenger had to be extended by some six-inches to accommodate the oilburner and although claimed torque output is somewhere in the 737 lb.-ft. range, the few journos asked to take part only got to experience 442 lb.-ft. of twist – a good thing considering that the transmission mated to the engine is an A4 case with modified internals.

While the performance was impressive, the short gearing and shorter redline (not disclosed) seemed to make all that grunt superfluous in first and second, but Audi is expecting the R8 V12 TDI to return around 24 mpg and meet the 2014 Euro 6 emissions standards if, and when, it goes on sale.

While the Autoweek piece only provided the "50/50" quote in the title, the Fourtitude article is far more entertaining and informative -- well worth a read.

[Sources: Autoweek, Fourtitude]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      This comes at a time when Diesel is over $4 a gallon, and cost more than premium fuel, so why pollute the environment more and pay more when you could just run regular? It makes all the difference in a car with 12MPG
      • 7 Years Ago
      It definitely needs TALL gearing. Make it tallest in the world.
      10,20,30,40,50,60 mph per 1K rpm. Have top speed be 200mph@4000rpm in 5th.
      Let it be drag limited to 180mph@3000rpm in 6th.

      It doesn't matter if the redline is 4500 or 5000rpm.
      You would upshift progressively at lower engine speed in each gear. (You'd shoot for these revs on the tach, but due to tachometer latency, you'd slightly overshoot that)
      1st-4750, 2nd-4500, 3rd-4250, 4th-4000, 5th-4K top speed, 6th-supercruise 180mph@3K.

      This allows you to finish the 1/4 mile in 3rd.

      only differs slightly from
      • 7 Years Ago
      In the German car magazine Auto Motor und Sport from 14.Feb. 2008 the Audi development chief Michael Dick already comfirmed that the R8 models comes to dealer

      Audi R8 V10 03/2009
      Audi R8 Roadster 05/2009
      Audi R8 V12 TDI 12/2011

      There is not much if or if not left
      • 7 Years Ago
      That car looks freaking mean as hell in that pic
        • 7 Years Ago
        One in orange please.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Man I love this car.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Hopefully they make the gearing taller in the production model. With 737 lb/ft I'm sure they can afford to do it.
      • 7 Years Ago
      i like the front grill. it is cool
      • 7 Years Ago
      This engine i believe is more suited for a GT cruiser version of the R8. It will accelerate fast and corner properly, but won't be as agile as the high revving V8 probably. It's a model targeted at different customers, maybe comparable to an AMG CL63 or somethinh like that. Best thing for it would be the 7-speed DSG from the veyron, as the quick shift times will make the most out of the powerband. And i believe disels have great low-end torque, from around 1500 rpm, but without a turbo, that goes down pretty steeply. The turbo kicks in at around 2000 rpm (speaking about a smaller TDI here) and it gives you a little more time before you have to shift up, making the engine more usable and drivable. Although with that torque and a sturdy enough gearbox, you could probably just start in third gear for daily driving.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I'd be willing to bet the Veyrons DSG is probably $50K or so by itself.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "though I still have doubts about it feeling like a true supercar, or even a sports car"

      Umm, perhaps you forgot about the Audi R10 TDI that has been dominating the ALMS (against gasoline engines mind you).....
        • 7 Years Ago
        You have some excellent points and I would agree with everything up until you began bemoaning the TDI's narrow powerband. In terms of percentage, TDI engines general exceed that of most gasoline cars, except perhaps big bore v8's. Diesels require significantly different driving practices because you manage shifts off speed, not rpms and that might not appeal to the high end sports car sound. The R8 TDI won't be a screamer but 700+ lb/ft of torque would be enough to make it one of favorite supercars.
        • 7 Years Ago

        I may as well say that you've got an emotional involvement with diesel engines from your responses, and that said involvement makes it hard for you to see both sides of an issue. Name-calling, though, doesn't help your cause.

        Let's address some points, though:

        The Carrera GT:
        * The Carrera GT is not a street car. The compromises it makes (launching it is _hard_, and the powertrain is not low-maintenance) really make this obvious.
        * The production R8, by comparison, is very streetable, general-consumption-friendly and has little to do with LeMans aside from it's name. It's probably the most civil supercar since the NSX.
        * Dropping the R10 TDI powertrain into it isn't easy. You'd need to detune it to meet acceptable levels of civility and emissions. You'd also need to deal with that whole "no production transmission" issue. If you didn't do this, you'd have a car that was fast, but thoroughly impractical.

        On the powerband:
        * 3500-4000rpm? This must be a typo, as a 500rpm powerband is truck territory. Meaning that you'll need a truck transmission-like gearset: 10-18 forward gears. That's a big gearbox for a sportscar.
        * If you mean 1000-5000rpm, well, that's not entirely true. Even a good TDI suffers some turbo lag, which means that the fun doesn't start until ~1500rpm.
        * A "good" diesel like BMW's 3.0d is going to start giving up at or before 4000rpm. That gives you 2500rpm of useful powerband--probably less. Compare that to a gasoline (especially a blown one with variable valve timing) that does well to from ~2000-7000rpm; that's 5000rpm of useful power.
        * Here's that "transmission" thing again. It has to handle the torque, and it has to cope with the powerband.

        There's a case for fuel efficiency in a diesel (and that fuel efficiency advantage is a big part of Audi and Peugeot cleaning up at Le Mans), but we're

        Torque is great, but you're hitting declining returns here: the car is going to weigh a lot thanks to the heavy lumps that is the diesel engine and extra-strong tranny. And the transmission is going to negate a lot of that acceleration on it's own because it's going to have to shift so damn much. In a truck, this doesn't matter (you're hauling cargo, who cares how fast you peel out?), but in a sportscar it's a tougher sell.

        I don't think that this will offer much more than a V8 or V10 gasoline version--especially a blown gas version. In fact, it might be slower. And the fuel economy issue doesn't really matter to someone who might cross-shop this against a Lamborghini or Porsche.

        Diesels are useful things and they do very well in certain markets, but the street sportscar market might not be the right spot for them. Hybrids have the same issue: they're a good tool for many jobs, but perhaps not this one.
          • 7 Years Ago
          > Dropping the R10 TDI powertrain into it isn't easy.

          That's why they don't. This is not, and has nothing to do with, the racing engine.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Racing car != production car
        • 7 Years Ago
        @psarhjinian, why wouldn't Audi have thought things through and adjust its (gutsy TDI) power plant, though diesel, to behave, sound and handle like a super car? I would say that Audi's motorsports' experience should have, if any, a positive impact on its production cars. And oh yeah, go graduate from high school before you leave a comment :D
          • 7 Years Ago
          * HB - you hit on a key point here. I was at Geneva & heard this vehicle. It sounds like an electric razor. I was sooo disapointed.

          I mean the color was extremely loud (not my choice mind you) & yet it purred like it was hardly running. Not the raw, anarchy I was expecting.
        • 7 Years Ago
        > Dropping the R10 TDI powertrain into it isn't easy.

        That's why they don't. This is not, and has nothing to do with, the racing engine.
        • 7 Years Ago

        stop posting comments about diesel engines... you showed on many topic´s at autoblog that you have zerro knowlege into diesel and car technology and all that you write here is simple "totaler quatsch"

        LeMans racing is so far away from production that Porsche used a LeMans race engine in the Porsche Carrera GT.
        The V12 TDI engine has a usefull powerband of 3500-4000rpm... from 1000rpm to 5000rpm..
        most petrol engines does not have am larger usefull powerband... who cares if they need 3 or 4000rpm to get to the usefull powerband.

        BTW you know nothing about car freak.. it is widely used practis in Germany to use strong diesel trannys at heavy modded petrol engines simple because they are build for higher torque...

        I am sick to read all the nonsens you write
        • 7 Years Ago
        Well, I live and work in Germany and, as you might know, TDI is huge over here. Coincidentally, I have had a Mini Cooper with a petrol engine for a long period of time and didn't find it as "elastic" nor "torque-y" it as a TDI in an A3 or a Golf. I guess speculations are still ripe about how the V12TDI of the R8 will perform and "feel", since it's completely uncharted waters for a diesel in a road car. I do hope it delivers and will certainly be on the lookout!
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