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2012 Audi R8 (Audi R8, Audi R8 Spyder, Audi R8 GT and Audi R8 GT Spyder) review


The R8, the high-performance sports car from Audi, is a high-tech work of art with the formidable power of its engines, the quattro permanent all-wheel drive and its lightweight Audi Space Frame (ASF) body made of aluminum.
2012 Audi R8 V8 4.2 FSI quattro photo2012 Audi R8 V8 4.2 FSI quattro photo
The good everyday practicality and top quality typical of Audi complete the profile of this model athlete.
2012 Audi R8 V8 4.2 FSI quattro photo -2012 Audi R8 V8 4.2 FSI quattro photo -
Body and interior
The forward-thrust cockpit and the engine compartment behind it are key to the proportions of the R8. Large wheel wells and hungry air inlets visualize its potential, while the upright sideblade structures the flank. LED headlights are standard in ten-cylinder R8 models and available as an option for the eight-cylinder version.
2012 Audi R8 V8 4.2 FSI quattro photo2012 Audi R8 V8 4.2 FSI quattro photo
The body of the R8 is largely hand-built at the craft-scale production shop at the Neckarsulm site. Featuring an aluminum Audi Space Frame (ASF), it tips the scales at just 210 kilograms (462.97 lb) – ultra-lightweight construction in the extreme. The fully-enclosed diffuser underbody and the rear spoiler that slides out automatically help ensure that the R8 generates downforce at high speeds.
2012 Audi R8 V8 4.2 FSI quattro photo2012 Audi R8 V8 4.2 FSI quattro photo
The key element of the interior is the monoposto, a large arc sweeping around the dashboard instruments. The relatively long wheelbase of 2.65 meters (8.69 ft) allows for generous interior space. There is space for two golf bags behind the seats, and the luggage compartment under the front hatch offers an additional 100 liters (3.53 cu ft) of storage capacity. The R8 5.2 FSI quattro comes standard with Fine Nappa leather appointments, a Bang & Olufsen sound system, and the navigation system plus. The optional bucket seats from the Audi exclusive range exude concentrated racing style.
2012 Audi R8 V8 4.2 FSI quattro photo2012 Audi R8 V8 4.2 FSI quattro photo
Drive
Two high-tech engines are available for the Audi R8. Both reflect the wealth of expertise which helped to fuel Audi’s numerous racing triumphs. The V8 and the V10 combine FSI gasoline direct injection with dry sump lubrication and a high-revving concept. Both captivate with their power, their responsiveness and their musical sound. The eight-cylinder unit launches the R8 from 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 4.6 seconds en route to a top speed of 302 km/h (187.65 mph). The V10 is a touch faster, with a time of just 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 316 km/h (196.35 mph).
2012 Audi R8 V10 Premium 5.2 FSI quattro photo2012 Audi R8 V10 Premium 5.2 FSI quattro photo
Engine lineup:
4.2 FSI quattro with 316 kW (430 hp)
5.2 FSI quattro with 386 kW (525 hp)
The engines’ power flows to either a six-speed manual transmission or the R tronic controlled in this case via either a joystick on the center console or paddles on the steering wheel. The automatic transmission changes gears extremely fast, and the launch control program enables the Audi R8 to make stunningly fast starts with perfectly controlled slip.
2012 Audi R8 V10 Spyder 5.2 FSI quattro photo2012 Audi R8 V10 Spyder 5.2 FSI quattro photo
The quattro permanent all-wheel drive is tailored to the mid-engine concept with a rear-biased axle load distribution, sending roughly 85 percent of the power to the rear wheels in the standard distribution. The heart of the system is a viscous coupling at the front axle, which can transfer up to 30 percent of the torque to the front within milliseconds, if needed.
2012 Audi R8 V10 Premium 5.2 FSI quattro photo2012 Audi R8 V10 Premium 5.2 FSI quattro photo
Chassis
The chassis of the Audi R8 is just as well suited for blasting through corners as it is for casual cruising. Aluminum double wishbones locate the wheels up front and at the back. The setup for the R8 with V10 engine is somewhat stiffer than for the R8 4.2 FSI. The top model comes standard with 19-inch wheels. All four floating brake discs are internally vented and perforated. A total of 24 pistons clamp down on them.
The optional carbon fiber-ceramic brakes are extremely lightweight, strong, and durable. The Audi magnetic ride adaptive shock absorber system is standard in the R8 5.2 FSI quattro and an option with the V8.
2012 Audi R8 V10 Spyder 5.2 FSI quattro photo2012 Audi R8 V10 Spyder 5.2 FSI quattro photo
The Audi R8 Spyder
The open-top high-performance sports car is a favorite with the public and experts alike. Its most recent successes include category victories in the “Auto Trophy” from Auto Zeitung and being voted among “The Best Cars of 2011” by the readers of auto motor und sport magazine.
The Audi R8 Spyder has its own unique touches. It does not include the storage space behind the seats and sideblades on the flanks. The rear side panels and the large cover over the compartment for the top are made of a carbon-fiber composite. Two cowls extending to the spoiler lip give the long back of the car a powerful profile.
Typically Audi, the top is made of cloth, which keeps the total weight and the vehicle’s center of gravity low. It requires little space when open and harmonizes ideally with the design line when closed. With the standard hydraulic motor, the soft top opens and closes within 19 seconds, even while driving at speeds up to 50 km/h (31.07 mph). It is perfectly suitable for high-speed driving on the highway and is very quiet.
The separate wind deflector can be installed in just two steps. The heated glass rear window is integrated into the bulkhead separately and can be raised and lowered via a switch. The bulkhead also includes integrated rollover protection. The Spyder’s ASF body is reinforced in key areas, yet weighs just six kilograms (13.23 lb) more than that of the R8 Coupé.
The leather seats of the open two-seater are specially pigmented to reduce heating as a result of the sun’s rays. Among the other options is the seatbelt microphone for the hands-free unit, which makes it possible to talk on the phone with the top down on the highway. Integrated into the belts are three small microphones; a fourth is mounted on the windshield frame. The seat belt microphone is also available for the R8 Coupé.
2012 Audi R8 V10 Spyder 5.2 FSI quattro photo2012 Audi R8 V10 Spyder 5.2 FSI quattro photo
Engine lineup:
4.2 FSI quattro with 316 kW (430 hp)
5.2 FSI quattro with 386 kW (525 hp)
The Audi R8 GT and the R8 GT Spyder
Even lighter, more powerful and faster than ever – the Audi R8 GT and the recently introduced R8 GT Spyder are the exclusive top models of the R8 family. Hand-built in a limited production run of just 333 units each, the coupe was already sold out long ago.
The 5.2-liter V10 with direct injection has been boosted to an output of 412 kW (560 hp). Exhaustive fine-tuning has reduced the R8 GT Coupé’s curb weight by 100 kilograms (220.46 lb) to 1,525 kilograms (3,362.05 lb), thus improving the power-to-weight ratio to 2.72 kilograms (6.00 lb) per hp. The soft-top R8 GT Spyder also demonstrates the Audi ultra-lightweight construction concept. Here the corresponding values are minus 85 kilograms (187.39 lb), 1,640 kilograms (3,615.58 lb) and 2.93 kilograms (6.46 lb) per hp.
The R8 GT accelerates from zero to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 3.6 seconds and reaches a top speed of 320 km/h (198.84 mph). The Spyder needs two-tenths of a second more for the standard sprint and tops out at 317 km/h (196.97 mph).
2012 Audi R8 V10 5.2 FSI quattro photo2012 Audi R8 V10 5.2 FSI quattro photo
Engine lineup:
5.2 FSI quattro with 412 kW (560 hp)
The Audi R8 GT and R8 GT Spyder are driving machines with extreme lateral acceleration and lightning-fast, nearly instantaneous reactions. The 19-inch wheels keep the cars planted firmly on the asphalt, and the carbon fiber ceramic brakes easily keep the power under control.
2012 Audi R8 GT photo2012 Audi R8 GT photo
A fixed rear spoiler of carbon fiber composite provides the necessary downforce on the rear axle. Many additional components, including the cover of the top compartment and the large side panels of the Spyder, are also made of carbon fiber composite. The chassis of the standard bucket seats is made of glass fiber-reinforced plastic. A chassis of carbon fiber composite is available as an option.

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