Audi's Super Bowl ad puts a former astronaut into the new R8 V10 Plus to relive the joy of blasting off. The David Bowie soundtrack is a great choice, too.
Audi R8 V10
This weekend a new era begins in American sports car racing with the Rolex 24 at Daytona to kick off the new United SportsCar Championship, the freshly inked union between the Grand Am and American Le Mans Series. There'll be a wide variety of machinery lining up on the grid at the Florida speedway, including race-ready versions of the sports cars you can drive on the road, plus Daytona Prototypes, Le Mans Prototypes and even the DeltaWing. But at the front of the pack will be the Audi R8 5.2 FS
"Simplify and add lightness," as Lotus founder Colin Chapman said. In a world where even supercars are subject to environmental, efficiency and emissions standards, lighter vehicles are being looked on as a sort of panacea - make it lighter, and it's automatically faster, more agile, easier to brake and better on gas.
Looking across the Audi landscape, many models that used to get the company's high-revving, naturally aspirated 4.2-liter V8 are now powered by smaller, yet similarly powerful, forced-induction engines. From what Auto Express is reporting, though, the next-generation Audi R8 will not meet this same fate.
Bavarian tuners ABT have done another job on the Audi R8 V10, pumping up the 5.2-liter FSI V10 from 525 horsepower to 600 hp, and torque from 391 pound-feet to 406 lb-ft. With 50 more horsepower than the R8 V10 Plus - but not the extreme weight-loss scheme - ABT claims a 0-62 mile per hour run of 3.5 seconds, the same as the R8 V10 Plus, and a top speed for the mid-engined coupe of 198 miles per hour "is no problem at all."
It's hard to believe that Audi launched the R8 a full seven years ago. Since that time, the automaker has kept the two-seat sports car fresh with several changes including the addition of the roofless Spyder, an optional V10 and the sportier GT model, but now Audi has determined that it's finally time for the model's first full-on refresh. Today, Audi revealed the revamped 2013 R8 lineup, highlighted by subtle styling changes, a seven-speed S-tronic transmission (no more dreadful R-tronic!) and
Some vehicles are made to be stretched. Others, less so. A Lincoln Town Car, for example, is a good platform for a limo. A Mercedes-Benz S-Class, sure. A Rolls-Royce Phantom. We could even see the attraction behind a Cadillac Escalade limo, if we had to. But not an exotic supercar.
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.