Audi debuts super sports car, 2010 R8

James Raia

backaudia8Audi has forged its engineering through grueling competition at the world’s most  demanding motorsports venue – Le Mans. With five Le Mans victories and multiple podium finishes, the company understands performance.

New for 2010, a refined 5.2 FSI V10 engine joins the R8 lineup. With menacing, unmistakable styling and the unshakable performance of quattro all-wheel drive, the R8 represents the very edge of what is technically possible in a sports car today.

The 2010 Audi R8 is unique in the Audi portfolio and is hand-assembled at a maximum of 20 cars per day. A wide, low stance is derived directly from the Audi motorsports program and helps to provide the R8 with its world-class handling.

Image/James Raia
The 2010 Audi R8/LA Auto Show . . . Image/James Raia

The R8 was inspired not only by victorious Audi Le Mans race cars, it shared the same design team. Two large bladed air inlets and aggressively slanted headlamps join the signature Audi single-frame grille, while the addition of LED daytime running lights creates a face that’s both purposeful and refined.

With sides defined by large fender arches and unique sideblade wind deflectors, the R8 delivers a subtly exotic image. The R8 stands just 49.3 inches tall, striking a low-slung profile both sultry and determined. From this vantage, the R8 presents a cockpit thrust far toward the front of vehicle – Indicative of the mid-engine layout. The design allows for a near perfect weight balance with 56 percent of the weight over the rear tires.


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From the rear, the remarkable road presence of the R8 could not be more apparent. The 2010 R8 is 75 inches wide, giving it a remarkably wide track. This results in excellent grip and cornering ability. A large, transparent rear hood  reveals the longitudinally mounted engine, and LED tail lamps dominate the rear styling.

Audi engineers applied the same attention to detail to the sports car’s interior. Leather covers well-bolstered and comfortable sports seats as well as a lightweight magnesium tri-spoke, flat bottom steering wheel. The driver-oriented dashboard houses a high-resolution display, while Multimedia Interface (MMI®) controls are located just below, poised at the fingertips.

The performance-inspired speedometer and tachometer of the R8 are enclosed in teardrop bezels and provide the driver with important information at the glance of an eye. With seating for two, there is no mistaking the intentions of this vehicle, yet the cockpit is still functional and spacious with room for two golf bags behind the seats.

Image/James Raia
Image/James Raia

Available for the first time with two engine choices, the R8 now delivers buyers the option of a 4.2 FSI V8 engine or an even more powerful 5.2 FSI V10. Using the latest in Audi innovation to be both powerful and efficient, the 4.2 FSI V8 incorporates an aluminum intensive construction and high revving design with a maximum engine speed of 8,250 rpm. In the eight-cylinder 4.2 engine, the evolution of FSI gasoline direct injection technology has reached a new high.

This technology also has enjoyed many triumphs in the Audi R8 race car.  With the help of FSI direct injection, the R8 4.2 FSI produces an astonishing 420 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque. The R8 4.2 FSI is able to reach 60 mph from a standstill in just 4.4 seconds, powering on to a top speed of 187 mph.

Now those who demand the absolute highest level of power output may fit their R8 with the same 5.2 FSI V10 engine that is found in the competition R8 LMS GT3 class racecar. The 5.2-liter, 10-cylinder engine benefits from many of the same innovations found in the 4.2 FSI V8, while the addition of two extra cylinders produces substantial power gains. With a high compression ratio of 12.5:1, the R8 V10 FSI produces s525 horsepower and 391 lb-ft of torque.

Despite the marked increase in power, the V10 only weighs 68 pounds more than the V8. The 5.2 FSI uses an aluminum block fortified with silicon crystals for added strength, as well as aluminum pistons and crankcase. Redline arrives at a stratospheric 8,700 rpm,meaning that each piston travels 88 feet per second. The result of this engineering is a 196 mph top speed. The R8 5.2 FSI accelerates from 0-60 mph in a scant 3.7 seconds.

The Audi focus on superior engineering does not stop at the engine and drivetrain. Each R8 comes equipped with the latest in Audi life-saving technology. The lightweight Audi Space Frame (ASF) is made almost entirely of aluminum, with the exception of one item made from an even more exotic material, magnesium. The entire frame weighs just 463 pounds, making it lighter than most motorcycles.  Thanks to the Audi space frame concept, this light weight is achieved along with superior strength and rigidity.

An exceptionally rigid skeleton protects the cabin in the event of a collision. Large crumple zones are built to direct crash energy down and away from occupants, and the seats are designed to minimize injury from a rear impact. The driver and passenger are protected by front, side, head, chest and knee air bags. In the event of a collision, the R8 automatically shuts off the vehicle fuel system and battery to minimize the likelihood of a fire and unlocks the doors to prevent entrapment.

Aside from the unmatched performance of the 5.2-liter V10, the R8 5.2 FSI enjoys much of the same equipment found on the R8 4.2 FSI – with a few changes. The R8 5.2 FSI comes standard with a specifically tuned suspension to handle the added power from the 10-cylinder engine and offers even higher performance. Outside, unique 19-inch wheels, Aluminum Optic engine cover vents, flared rocker panels and flared tone-on-tone sideblades distinguish the car from its brother.

The R8 5.2 FSI is the first vehicle to use LED lighting for all headlight functions, including high and low beams, daytime running lights and turn signals. The lamps emit a color temperature of 6,000 degrees Kelvin, close to that of daylight. Power folding, auto-dimming heated-side view mirrors are standard.

The Audi R8 will be backed by a new vehicle limited warranty that includes: Four-year/50,000 mile limited new vehicle warranty; 12-year limited warranty against corrosion perforation; 24-hour Roadside Assistance for four years/unlimited mileage.

Press Release Courtesy of

Article Last Updated: December 11, 2009.

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