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 a new flagship V10 Plus model.
It takes a keen eye to pick out the design changes to the new R8, the most prominent being the redesigned LED headlights and taillights that come standard on all models. Audi has also revised the front bumper and grille, and out back, there's a larger diffuser and new circular tailpipes.
2013 Audi R8 SpyderPerhaps the biggest change to the R8 for 2013 is the addition of the new seven-speed S-tronic transmission that utilizes two mult-plate clutches. Each clutch engages with two independent sub-transmissions and alternately select gears, resulting in smoother shifts that take mere hundredths of as second. Thankfully, a six-speed manual is still offered, although Audi claims that the car equipped with the S-tronic is actually faster to 60 miles per hour by three-tenths of a second in all models.
A new R8 V10 Plus arrives at the flagship model, featuring the same carbon fiber reinforced plastic used on the R8 GT. The front splitter, mirrors, side blades, rear diffuser and lining for the engine compartment are all constructed of the lightweight material. The 5.2-liter V10 has also been slightly improved compared to the standard V10 model, producing 550 horsepower and 398 pound-feet torque.
European models will start rolling off the line at the end of this year, and while Audi has not mentioned U.S. availability or pricing, we expect our version of the R8 to follow very shortly thereafter.