Audi introduced the R8 sports car at the Paris Auto Show in September 2006. Since then it has found a place in the hearts of enthusiasts, helping to start a performance revolution at Audi. Truly a more affordable (although not affordable enough for most of us, unfortunately) exotic, the R8 is mid-engined and shares a platform with the Lamborghini Gallardo.
Over the years we’ve seen the R8 creep farther upmarket with new models, such as the Spyder and addition of a V-10 engine model. The lightweight and high performance R8 GT also comes up right against the $200,000 barrier. The next-generation version of the car is scheduled to arrive in 2014, and Audi’s chief engineer Michael Dick has revealed some of Audi’s plans to German magazine Automobilwoche.
Between now and 2014, a facelift will arrive to keep the car fresh. We like the way the R8 looks but it has never been known for its beauty. Hopefully the facelift will smoothen things out and make it more svelte. The facelift isn’t here yet, but Audi is already looking forward to the next-generation car, and carbon fiber looks to play an important role.
Over at Lamborghini, carbon fiber serves as a core part of its new brand ethos. Use of the material was highlighted in the Sesto Elemento Concept, which is Italian for sixth element. Given that Audi shares a platform with the Gallardo, Lamborghini’s efforts will trickle down to Audi. Michael Dick says the R8 will be the “lightest in its segment” (we aren’t really sure what segment he is referring to…..) due to a heavy use of aluminum and carbon fiber in the car’s platform.
The changes will result in a next-generation R8 that sheds 220 pounds over its predecessor. That is a significant figure. All the while, torsional rigidity will increase by 30%. Such are the benefits of carbon fiber. The use of these materials is expensive however. Hopefully the R8’s price tag won’t go up to match. We doubt it will though, as it would infringe on Lamborghini’s territory. Audi has an important place at the Volkswagen Group though so you never know.