The new R8 will combine Audi's latest construction techniques, advanced driveline engineering , and state-of-the-art aerodynamics and electronics.
In its bid to rank the R8 alongside the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini, the supercar is under intense development at the automaker's headquarters in Ingolstadt. According to Autocar, it has been given the codename AU724 and is being developed alongside the Lamborghini Gallardo successor, codenamed LB724. Both cars will share vital components such as selected parts of a new lightweight carbon-fiber and aluminum monocoque that weighs just 198kg.
That's 24kg less than the current R8's all-aluminum structure, and combined with other weight reduction programs, the base model is planned to come in at under 1500kg. Another two-model line-up is also planned, with updated versions of the naturally-aspirated base 4.2-liter V8 and range-topping 5.2-liter V10. Unofficially, the V8 will produce in the region of 450hp and the V10 around 550hp and both will have improved fuel economy. According to a key Audi insider, turbocharged units are not being adopted in order to retain the R8's "highly strung nature."
"It is important to retain the engine qualities which have made the current model so successful," the insider continued. "We want to keep the throttle response, the soaring nature of the delivery and the inherent sound. It is what sets our car apart from the competition, many of which are now adopting forced induction." A limited-production GT is also planned, powered by a 580hp version of the 5.2-liter V10. With a lightweight body it will compete with the Ferrari 458 Scuderia and new Porsche 911 GT3, but not until 2016.
Elements of Audi's new generation of exterior design is set to appear on the all-electric E-Tron, whose structural architecture will be shared with the new R8 coupe and roadster. Meanwhile the latest R8 facelift is expected be unveiled at the Moscow Motor Show in August. Photos displayed are of the 2011 Audi R8 GT.