Audi R8 sales have dropped off lately, but not for the reasons you might think. Neither recession, nor climate concerns, nor European austerity measures have effected the R8 sales. No, sales have dwindled in 2012 because buyers have been anticipating an updated R8 model for 2013. And that’s exactly what Audi has given them.
The R8 roared onto the automotive market in 2006 and changed the way the world and — more importantly for Audi — Americans saw the brand. Since the R8’s unveiling, Audi has made a few tweaks to its flagship, adding a Spyder version with a soft top convertible to the lineup and a version with a V10 power plant.
Audi has done it again. The 2013 model has a new transmission option. The engines have been made more eco-friendly. The brakes have been strengthened. New interior features were added, and some exterior bits have been reworked.
For 2013, Audi has done away with the R tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission and replaced it with a new S tronic seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, which provides crisper shifts. Including a launch-control feature, the R tronic comes standard on V10-powered R8s and remains and upgradable option over the six-speed manual on the V8-powered R8.
The 2013 R8 V10 Plus produces 550 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque, and makes a 0-62 run in 3.5 seconds (0.3 seconds faster than the outgoing 2012) and produces 35.41 fewer grams of CO2 per mile. The base V8-powered R8’s 0-62 times are also down 0.3 seconds to 4.3, and it’s power figures stand at 430 horsepower and 317 pound-feet.
While performance has been made more hardcore for the 2013 model year, the interior has become plusher. Audi has added honeycomb quilted leather both to the seats and the door inserts, as well as an optional Alcantara headliner.
Thanks to its revolutionary aluminum Audi Space Frame, the V8 and V10 R8s only weigh some 3,439 and 3,461 pounds respectively. The light-weight 2013 R8 is more striking looking than ever. Audi has re-worked the head and taillights and made LEDs standard. The new taillights now flash sequentially from the inside outward, like that of the new Ford Mustang. Audi also re-sculpted the front single frame grille and the rear air diffuser and added rounded tailpipes. On V10 R8s, the air diffuser features new geometry and is fashioned from lightweight carbon fiber.
Pricing for the US has not yet been announced, but based upon the €113,500 base price for German buyers, we’re certain US buyers will see an uptick in the 2013 sticker price over that of the 2012s. Regardless, we think the Audi daily driver supercar is well worth every penny.