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R8 GT ups the supercar ante

2010-05-03 07:15
Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Audi
Model R8 GT
Engine 5.2l V10
Power 412kW @ 8 700r/min
Torque 540Nm @ 6 500r/min
Zero To Hundred 3.6 seconds
Top Speed 320km/h
Weight 1 525kg
Audi’s R8 is the current World Performance Car of The Year. So, how could it possibly be improved? By trimming some weight and hiking the power, that’s how.

For weeks now speculation has been rife concerning what exact specification Audi’s latest R8 derivative would cue.

Many expected this new R8 to borrow the GT3 specification racecar’s rear-wheel drive architecture.

Well, Audi’s now released full details of the car, and we can confirm it retains the R8's signature all-wheel drive configuration and takes the fabled supercar range’s performance to an even higher level.

Red finishing adds 26kW. Okay, not really, an ECU recalibration liberates the additional power.

More power, less weight

Audi’s R8 GT adds 26 units of additional power to crank the 5.2l long-stroke V10’s output past the magic 400kW threshold to a new peak of 412kW.

Ingolstadt’s engineers have significantly retrimmed the car’s surfacing with carbon-fibre bits too, which not only look good but also melt away 100kg of mass.

Considering the standard R8 V10 was hardly a portly car at 1 625kg, one wonder’s just how Audi managed to get the GT’s mass down to 1 525kg. Well, lots of little savings make up the 100kg difference.

Firstly the GT windshield is thinner, whilst the window, bulkhead and rear hatch are all polycarbonate. The fixed rear wing trims 1.2kg, whilst a new battery (less 9kg) and brakes (another 4kg) help the weight saving regime.

Audi found plenty of superfluous trim material in the cabin to get rid of. New carpeting is 7.9kg lighter than the stock R8’s, whilst glass-reinforced plastic seats account for a 31.5kg reduction.

A smattering of 'R8 GT' embellishments and white dials differentiate it from the stock 5.2l V10. Bang & Olufsen sound system optional.

No manual?

Purists expecting an open-gate shift-guide will be disappointed to learn the R8 GT will only be available with Audi’s six-speed R-Tronic sequential manual, which isn’t the company’s best transmission when you're cruising around in auto mode.

On a high friction surface Audi claims the R8 GT should run the benchmark 0-100km/h sprint in 3.6 seconds, before passing 200km/h seven second later on the way to a top speed of 320km/h.

Dynamic poise and agility promise to be outstanding thanks to manually adjustable coil-over suspension at each wheel corner, a 30mm ride height reduction and more generous fore and aft wheel camber rates.

Rear wing is properly carbon-fibre, keeps the aft axle neatly planted when exploring the R8 GT's 320km/h top speed potential.

Oversteer biased all-wheel drive?

Harnessing the R8 GT’s 412kW of peak power is Audi’s quattro drive system. Configured to run in a 15/85 default torque split, R8 GT promises to deliver ample samples of power-on oversteer when required.

A locking rear differential provides 25% lockup under power and 40% traction security on overrun, which means whether you invoke tail-out behaviour by depressing or abruptly lifting off the throttle, R8 GT will always retain a remnant of control.

Behind the R8 GT’s wheels are carbon-ceramic rotors measuring 380mm up front and 356mm at the rear.

Audi will only produce 333 R8 GTs, which is of course (in a detail of delicious irony) the number of the beast divided by two. We're sure the production run number is Ingolstadt having some fun at the expense of Lamborghini's Diabo heritage...

Initial benchmark pricing is pegged at €193 000 for German buyers.

For potential R8 GT owners who are regular trackday attendees Audi has a race package available too. This includes four-point harness retainers, the obligatory fire extinguisher, kill-switch and a built-in roll bar.

It's abundantly clear Audi is chasing Porsche GT3 (all the derivatives) market share with this R8 GT. The car's potential customer base will primarily be drivers with a serious circuit navigating fetish.

Would you rather have a R8 GT, 911 GT3 or Gallardo Superleggera? Share your thoughts here!


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