The Audi R8 has been a brilliant supercar. It's a stunner to look at and the build quality is properly German. It's value for money when you consider the bhp per rupee statistic with respect to the Ferrari 458 Italia and makes for a genuine alternative if you want a Supercar on a budget. It has also redefined all-wheel drive cars thanks to most of the engine's power going to the rear wheels, the all-wheel drive doesn't ruin the fun. In all, the car is an all-rounder and is very hard to fault. However, there is one teeny tiny issue which Audi could’ve looked at, though according to sources, it has.
The Audi R8’s massive size and therefore heavy weight meant that the car wasn’t as nimble as a Porsche 911 or as sprightly as the Ferrari 458 Italia. Weight is one factor which can make or ruin a Supercar. Too much of it and even a V12 won’t feel fast. The lesser the better which translates into a car being faster, more agile, stops sooner and gives better fuel efficiency. This is what Lotus has done till now and so has Ferrari, and we’re sure you’d agree their cars aren’t slouches. With the second-generation Audi R8, the German manufacturer plans to lighten the car by as much as 130 pounds or 59 kgs, said Audi R&D chief Ulrich Hackenberg to MotorTrend at a round table meeting at the Los Angeles Auto Show going on right now.
This news could mean new technologies being introduced by Audi on how the company will construct the chassis and body of its cars and secondly, the weight reduction can do wonders for the R8's performance characteristics. To a normal person, a 59 kgs weight reduction might not seem much, however it is a game changer in the world of Supercars. With this diet, the Audi R8 will definitely feel faster and nimbler.
Considering that the current Audi R8 already uses a lightweight aluminum structure, to chop off as much as 59 kgs from the supercar won't be easy. The current Audi R8 might be heavier than other supercars but it's by no means a fat lady. The lightest Audi R8, the V10 plus edition weighs in at 1670kgs. The car features aluminum spaceframe technology coupled with carbon fibre components, however, the sheer dimensions of the car means that it is heavier than the smaller and narrower Ferrari 458 Italia or the McLaren Mp4-12C. This could very well mean that Audi will be improving upon its current lightweight aluminum structure technology and using a ‘multi-material’ strategy (used in R8 e-tron concept) where some elements of aluminum on the current car will be replaced with lighter carbon fibre. Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) may be used in the floor structure and centre tunnel (basically the central tub), a technology which is found on the Lamborghini Aventador as well.
What is CFRP you may ask? Basically strong, slender fibres of carbon enveloped in a resin that is treated to become a rigid part. While the resin is responsible for solidity, the carbon fibres provide high strength. A CFRP part typically weighs 50 to 70 percent less than a corresponding steel part, thereby contributing to the lightness of the overall structure without compromising on rigidity of the new Audi R8.
We also expect Audi to improve on the looks of the next gen R8 without straying too much from its roots. A radical new design with elements inspired from the Audi R8 E-tron concept car including the single-frame grille and matrix beam LED lights might just be what Audi has in store for us. A power bump of around 25bhp will be justified while the stop/start and cylinder deactivation technology may also be featured, increasing the fuel economy by up to 10 percent.
So, with the second generation lighter and faster Audi R8 scheduled to be released in the next couple of years there’s enough time for us motoring enthusiasts to speculate what the company's flagship supercar might turn out to be. For the above rendering, we give our sincere thanks to Luiz Valdeg.