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Next-gen Audi R8 to exclusively feature V10 engines, electric steering at launch

To say that the next-generation Audi R8 is highly anticipated would be a serious understatement. Part of the car’s allure is the secrecy surrounding it, as Audi has kept most of the juicy details under lock and key.

Or in this case, a sheet.

We got our first official glimpse at the vehicle’s laser headlights this week, and we know that like its predecessor, the all-wheel drive R8 will ride on a Lamborghini platform. This time, it will share its bones with the Huracán LP610-4. Of these things we are sure.

Fresh off a few laps in the second-generation supercar, Top Gear has just given us several new tidbits regarding the 2017 model.

With the new architecture, the upcoming R8 will be 40 percent stiffer than its antecedent, while also sitting 30 mm lower and weighing “just under” 1500 kg (3,306 pounds) dry.

The Audi will be offered exclusively with a 5.2-liter naturally aspirated V10 when it’s launched, but there will be two versions: one with 532 horsepower and 399 pound-feet of torque and a ‘V10 Plus’ variant with 610 hp and 413 lb-ft.

According to Top Gear, the base car will be good for 0 to 62 mph in 3.5 seconds, 0 to 124 mph in 11.3 seconds, and a top speed of 200 mph.

As for the range-topper, those specs will improve to 3.2 seconds, 9.9 seconds, and 206 mph respectively. Both engines will be mated to the brand’s ‘S-Tronic’ dual-clutch transmission for now. The V10 Plus also fits ceramic brakes as standard.

Concerning the handling, Audi’s wizards have cooked up a new AWD design that features a cooling differential at the front with a limited slip mounted to the rear. The system is constantly variable, the report says, although standard power distribution is 42:58. However, up to 100 percent of the V10’s torque can be shuttled to the back wheels if needed.

The coupe will also equip electro-mechanical steering for the first time, replacing the old car’s hydraulic layout. The system will reportedly be able to adapt to dry and wet conditions, and if you’re feeling brave, snow.

Related: Audi provides a peek at the laser headlights of the 2017 R8

The R8’s technical lead, Roland Schala, also told TG that the new car could birth several new versions over its lifespan.

“The production line for this new car is so flexible,” he said, “so there’s no problem to change it, to bring different models like a Superleggera, or GT, or Clubsport variants of the new R8.”

Could that mean the expansion of the vehicle’s engine lineup? Possibly, but it’s still too early to tell.

“We’re not quite sure what the next step is,” Schala explained, “but we definitely need engines that sit below the V10 over the life cycle of this car.”

“As low as a V6? Maybe,” he said. “The V6 is a perfect engine for this kind of car. We have a lot of potential with the V6, from 400 bhp upwards, so it’s possible.”