The New Audi R8 Begins Testing at the Nurburgring

As Audi is telling us we should celebrate three decades of quattro all-wheel drive, their engineers are secretly doing something sneaky and very cool. Road and track development of the next generation R8 sportscar has officially begun.
2016 Audi R8 21 photos
Photo: SB-Medien
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In what we can only describe as the biggest scoop of the year this test prototype is being photographed for the very first time on the famous Nurburgring test track and the roads that surround it.

Its design is a clear departure for Audi's current R8 models, with squared off lines everywhere. Even the oval exhaust is replaced by a trapezoidal one, flushed into an imposing rear diffuser. The front looks a lot lower and has air intakes similar to the TTS which just came out in Geneva. The rear is clearly wider than before and features a pop-up wing and a glass engine cover that widens towards the bottom.

Like the Porsche 911, the Audi R8 will fight to the bitter end to conserve its purity. Reports suggest its naturally aspirated V-shaped engines will be kept after receiving slight bumps in power and reductions in fuel consumption. Some time in the future, turbocharged or supercharged mills will eventually be adopted. The twin-turbo V6 currently being considered for use in the RS4 is the most likely candidate, since the base R8 currently shares its 4.2-liter mill with that car.

The most extreme Audi is of course developed by quattro GmbH. A longer wheelbase and wider tracks will make the R8 more planted and slightly reduced suspension will lower its center of gravity. Just like the Huracan, it will be offered only with all-wheel drive and should drop the manual gearbox "option" in the search for faster lap times.

It will be interesting to see what will happen to the ill-fated R8 e-tron project, which was canceled due to lack of sufficient battery range but is now believed to be back on track with a new pack giving it up to 450 kilometers on a charge. Audi might decide to use the current generation and only sell the usual 333 examples in the very last year of the current R8's existence.

The V10 shared with Lamborghini's Huracan will also be kept, though the two mills will probably have fewer and fewer components in common. Platform-wise, we're dealing with the same animal as before, though through more extensive use of carbon fiber and aluminum about 50 to 60 kilograms will be shed.

Editor's note: With the camouflage on, this test prototype looks a lot like the Roding Roadster '23'.
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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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