The Audi R8 is a mid-engined sports car introduced by the German automaker Audi in 2007.
The first appearance of the car was in 2006, appearing at auto shows and events all over the world. The R8 is based on the Lamborghini Gallardo platform, as Audi has full ownership of subsidiary Lamborghini S.p.A..
Audi announced in 2005 that the name of the successful Audi R8 race car would be used for a new road car in 2007, the Audi R8, based on the Audi Le Mans quattro concept car, appearing at the 2003 Geneva Auto Show and 2003 International Motor Show. The R8 was officially launched at the Paris Auto Show on 30 September 2006. There is some confusion with the name, which the car shares with the Le Mans winning R8 LMP and also the 1989 Mk 11 Rover 200, codenamed R8.
The Audi R8 is equipped with a 4.2 litre Fuel Stratified Injection (FSI) V8 engine developing 420 PS (309 kW/414 hp) and 430 N·m (320 ft·lbf), and is basically the same engine used in the B7 Audi RS4, but modified to use dry sump lubrication. A variant with a 5.2 litre Fuel Stratified Injection (FSI) V10 engine was added on the 9th of December 2008, which produces 386 kW (525 PS/518 hp) and 530 N·m (390 ft·lbf).
The transmission is either a manual gearbox with metal gate for the shift lever, or an "R-tronic" gearbox (single-clutch semi-automatic sequential manual transmission). These options are the same as those available on the Lamborghini Gallardo. A double-clutch gearbox (Direct-Shift Gearbox - DSG, now badged by Audi as "S-tronic") is not currently (as of December 2008) available.
The R8 has a dry weight of 1560 kg (3439 lb). Its suspension utilizes magneto rheological dampers.
As Audi AG owns Lamborghini (Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A.), 15% of the R8 is shared with the Lamborghini Gallardo, including the transmission and chassis. The R8 is made distinct by its exterior styling, cabin, engine, and pricing.
Safety features include Bosch ESP 8.0 Electronic Stability Programme with ABS, front dual-stage airbags, and side-impact airbags.
Amongst the options list for the Audi R8 are a Bang & Olufsen sound system, and "Audi Ceramic" Carbon fibre-reinforced Silicon Carbide (C/SiC) composite brakes with monobloc alloy Brembo calipers on all four wheels (6-piston at front, 4-piston at rear) with SGL Carbon ceramic discs.
In the production of the Audi R8, 70 workers fit 5000 unique parts by hand - the factory produces 15 cars a day. It has also been credited as the only car in the world to undergo a CT Scan. Ninety-five lasers inspect the entire car in 5 seconds, to ensure that over 220 measurements are within 0.1 mm of the programmed plans. The 2-seat coupé is currently available in Europe as well as the USA, Canada and Japan. In addition, an open-top roadster, Porsche Carrera GT-like model is rumored to follow in 2009.
Many publications were hailing it as the first car to truly be able to beat the Porsche 911 — considered by many to be one of the best sports cars ever made, and the leader in its class. Initial comparison tests have proven quite positive in this respect; Evo Magazine listed it as a "supercar", compared the R8 to the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, Aston Martin V8 Vantage, and BMW M6 and after praising the R8's "amazing stability, traction and grip, unparalleled steering accuracy and bite, (and) its uncannily flat and disturbance-free ride", claimed that as a result of "the sublime effortlessness of it all", the Audi is a better sports car. The article concluded that "Audi humbles Porsche. A new dawn starts today".
Hennessey an American Tuning firm created a package for the Audi R8 with 700HP.It is currently available for 2008.
Other publications have also written similar reviews of the Audi beating the Porsche in comparison tests.
Top Gear compared the Nissan GT-R to the R8, and remarked that the R8 was "simultaneously less impressive and yet somehow more involving". On the R8 they wrote that "it rewards driver input", calling it "fantastic in a way that will appeal more to true car enthusiasts" but also remarked that it was "much slower" and the Nissan GTR was cheaper. On their test track, the car performed better than a Lamborghini Gallardo and an Aston Martin DB9.
On Bedford Autodrome, tested by Evo Magazine, the R8 was faster than the Lamborghini Gallardo and the Koenigsegg CCX.