It may be hard to believe, but the Audi R8 has already been on the market for five years. And while it was cutting edge then and is still eminently fresh and desirable by any account, sooner or later it's going to need a bit of a touch-up up to keep ahead of the competition. And this could be our first look at what to expect.

Apparently leaked out together with some other photos, this solitary shot is believed to be a design mock-up of the front-end of the next R8. The nose features Audi's latest hexagonal grille shape and a very sharp-looking set of all-LED headlamps that (with apologies to Bryan Adams fans) cut like a knife across the car's face.

Mechanically, the new R8 is likely to carry over the existing choice of V8 or V10 engines with Quattro all-wheel drive, although prototypes have reportedly been seen with 2.5 and 3.0-liter TFSI engines driving the rear wheels only. What is understood is that the much-derided R-tronic transmission will finally be replaced with a better dual-clutch gearbox.

Sources speculate that Audi could be preparing to unveil the new R8 at the rapidly approaching Frankfurt Motor Show, but that could prove little more than wishful thinking. One way or another, we'll find out soon enough, so watch this space for more.

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