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Saturday, October 29, 2016

2017 Audi R8 - Review

Edited by : Shahen Tharammal
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R8 V10 $162,900
R8 V10 plus $189,900

Audi has introduced the long-awaited 2017 R8

The outgoing R8's entry-level V8 mill has been dropped, and the new model's base engine is a Lamborghini-derived 5.2-liter FSI V10 engine rated at 540 horsepower and 398 lb-ft. of torque. Linked exclusively to a seven-speed S tronic transmission controlled by shift paddles, the ten-cylinder rockets the R8 from zero to 62 mph in 3.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 200 mph. A brand new version of Audi's quattro all-wheel drive system helps put the power to the ground.

Buyers after more power can step up to the R8 V10 plus, which boasts an evolution of the base model's V10 that has been tuned to generate 610 horsepower and a healthy 413 lb-ft. of torque. The plus model is capable of reaching 62 mph from a stop in 3.2 seconds before going on to a top speed of 205 mph. 

Fuel economy checks in at about 20 mpg for the R8 V10 and 19 mpg for the R8 V10 plus. Both models pack a start/stop system, a coasting function built into the transmission and Audi's cylinder on-demand technology, which seamlessly turns the V10 into a five-cylinder when its full output isn't needed.

The R8 tips the scale at 3,428 pounds thanks in part to a chassis made out of lightweight materials such as aluminum and carbon fiber. All of the car's body panels are made out of aluminum, and select components (including the front splitter and the rear diffuser) can be crafted out of carbon fiber at an extra cost.


Ah, the [ahem] “all-new” Audi R8 is upon us, and this seems to me more like a refresh than a redesign. Yes, I understand Audi not wanting to mess around too much with the R8’s style mojo, but c’mon guys…

Up front the changes include a larger hexagonal grille with a bolder outline and a mesh insert, while the air intakes on the edges of the bumpers are shrunken and now have vertical slats. The headlights also got a mild tweak, as their edges are now straight instead of having the subtle curve that the 2015 model had. Additionally, the European market gets the new laser high-beam headlights that use a camera system to detect oncoming traffic and adjust the beam for ideal distribution. Unfortunately, the NHTSA has yet to approve them for use in the U.S.

Another key change is the elimination of the vertical contrast stripe just above the rear air intake. This is one change that I am all for, but it’s not revolutionary.

Around back, the 2017 R8 gets lightly revised taillights with new graphics underlined by new rear grilles with mesh inserts. The tailpipes also gain a trapezoidal shape in place of the old circular units, and the diffuser spanning the gap between the tailpipes is revised.

On the R8 V10 Plus, there is an added carbon-fiber-reinforced (CFRP) wing.

Where there are some pretty significant changes are in the numbers, specifically curb weight. The 2017 R8 V10 Plus checks in at just 3,428 pounds, which is up to 110 pounds less than the 2015 model. This weight loss is thanks to a new multi-material lightweight construction that includes an Audi space frame that weighs only 441 pounds. The body is made up of CFRP B-pillars, central tunnel, and rear wall. The R8’s front end is made of aluminum, as is the roof arch and the rear section of the frame. Despite the weight loss, the new R8 is approximately 40 percent more rigid than the 2015 model. There is no mention of the weight savings in the base R8 V10, but I assume it is roughly the same.

The 2017 R8 is 174 inches long, 76.4 inches wide and 48.8 inches tall, which makes it 0.6 inch shorter, 0.4 inch wider and 0.5 inch lower. The 2017 model’s wheelbase is the same as the previous model’s at 104.3 inches.

Though the aesthetic changes are quite minor, and would require a close inspection to notice, I do like the fairly drastic weight loss. I guess I need to give Audi credit for that at least.

For 2017, Audi will also improve the R8 e-tron, giving it the same multi-material space frame as the standard model, and also giving it a CFRP rear section. The e-tron’s body also gets a handful of special modifications to drop its drag to 0.28 Cd.


Inside the cabin, the changes are more noticeable than they are on the outside. First up is a redesigned, flat-bottom steering wheel with plenty of controls mounted on the crossbars – more than on the 2015 model. Audi also added a set of revised sports seats with enhanced lateral support, thanks to revised headrest and deeper pockets – these updated seats are standard on the V10 Plus but optional on the standard model.

Giving the driver all the important vitals on the 2017 R8 is Audi’s virtual cockpit, which features a 12.3-inch screen. This screen not only replaces the instrument gauges, but also the MMI screen that cluttered up the center console. The driver can reconfigure this display via controls on the new steering wheel to show only the information he wants.

From images, I can see that the designs of the dashboard and the center stack are new, too. The air vents are reshaped and the center vents are no longer housed within the center stack bezel. Additionally, the HVAC controls are repositioned and appear to be easier to reach. Lastly, with the six-speed manual transmission no longer an option, the center console features only the S tronic transmission’s switchgear.

The covering for the cabin is at the discretion of the buyer. He can go with an Alcantara-and pearl Nappa leather combo or the optional full fine Nappa leather. Other optional dress-up items include diamond stitching and clear-coated carbon-fiber trim.

Standard on the 2017 R8 is MMI navigation and the MMI touch wheel. The Audi connect module gives the passenger the ability to connect his smartphone or tablet to the car and utilized the system’s Wi-Fi hotspot. For buyers who need a little more, there is an optional Bang & Olufsen audio system with 500 watts.

Overall, the cabin looks and likely feels like a new generation compared to the 2015 model. So where Audi failed to completely impress me on the outside, it certainly made up for it in the cabin.


► Year:2017
► Make:Audi
► Model:R8
► Price:$ 162900
► Engine:V10 (Est.)
► Transmission:7-speed S tronic
► Horsepower @ RPM:540 (Est.)
► Torque @ RPM:398
► Displacement:5.2 L (Est.)
► 0-60 time:3.5 sec. (Est.)
► Top Speed:200 mph (Est.)


The Audi R8 sports an impressive set of standard features with an equally impressive starting price: more than $163,000.

We give it a score of 9, for that roster of stuff, and points for standout features like its full-screen "virtual cockpit.

The V-10 model comes with interior niceties such as Nappa leather and black Alcantara headliner, heated 18-way, power-adjustable sport seats, LED lighting, and the next generation of Audi’s Multi-Media Interface system, dubbed MMI Plus, which includes navigation. A Bang & Olufsen audio system with 13 speakers and 550 watts is standard.

Mechanical bits include Audi’s magnetic ride damper control and 19-inch alloy wheels. Options include active dynamic steering with variable assist and ratios, and 20-inch wheels.

The R8 V10 Plus is positioned more for track duty. It will forgo the magnetic dampers for stiffer shocks and steel springs. Carbon ceramic brakes—15 inches in diameter up front and 14 in the rear—are standard as well, and inside it gets racing bucket seats with a fixed seat back position.

►  Audi R8 infotainment

The biggest change for the 2017 R8 interior is the introduction of Audi’s new virtual cockpit. Instead of a center screen, it has a 12.3-inch screen in the instrument panel. Together with the numerous steering wheel buttons, it keeps most of the controls directly in front of the driver.

The virtual cockpit can be controlled via the familiar dial on the center console or through or a group of buttons on the left side of the steering wheel. The screen is configurable, allowing drivers to choose which type of information they want to see, and a View button on the steering wheel allows features such as the Google Earth-powered navigation system to be shown on the full screen.

We have mixed feelings after our first exposure to the new MMI system and its virtual cockpit. The screen is easy to see and anyone familiar with MMI will be able to work the controls, but right seat passengers won’t have access to the radio and other systems, and entering menus of one system, such as the phone, might mean you can’t see the navigation system for a short time. There’s plenty of room for a center screen. Why not use two screens?


First and foremost, the R8 is a supercar, and that means it's about power and performance. However, it is also a surprisingly comfortable cruiser. With the Drive Mode Select system in the Comfort or Auto modes, the suspension does a surprisingly good job of soaking up bumps and ruts.

We've given it a 10 here for outstanding drivetrain performance, ride and handling, and a point for being exceptional.

Choose the Dynamic or Performance modes (the latter shuts off the traction control and lets the driver optimize the traction in wet, dry, or snow conditions), and the R8 becomes a track-ready weapon.

By the numbers, the V-10 makes 540 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque in the R8 V10; 610 hp and 413 lb-ft in the R8 V10 Plus. Both are mated exclusively to a 7-speed automatic and Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system.

Drive the R8 hard into a corner, and the first thing you notice is the quick turn-in response. The available active dynamic steering is quick and precise, but we would prefer a bit more weight. Maintain speed through the turn and the relentless grip of the Pirelli P Zero tires becomes obvious. When they do finally give up traction, handling is neutral, reacting according to the driver’s inputs. Enter a turn too quickly and it will push forward rather than rotate unless you can keep the nose down with a touch of the brakes. Kick the throttle too hard mid-corner and the rear end will step out like a rear-drive car. However, at this point the all-wheel-drive system can send power to the front wheels to help you drive out of the slide.

We’ve only piloted the V10 Plus model, which comes with big carbon ceramic brakes. As expected, they provide very willing stopping power, though they require a light touch on the street.

Like the dynamic character, the engine and transmission can be relaxed for street use or at the ready for track duty. In the Comfort or Auto modes Audi's S Tronic dual-clutch gearbox executes relaxed shifts that are perfect for everyday driving. Opt for Dynamic mode, however, and it holds lower gears, keeping the revs up high, and making throttle response immediate. This is an advanced, modern transmission, but we’re sad to see the manual go.

In any mode and at any speed, the V-10 has power to spare. There is no swell of power like in a turbocharged or supercharged car. Instead, power delivery is linear and constant. Standard all-wheel drive and a launch control feature put the power down efficiently, making it easy to achieve Audi’s 0-to-62 mph estimates of 3.5 seconds for the V10 model and 3.2 seconds for the V10 Plus. After that dash, the power keeps building to a top speed of 199 mph for the V10 and 205 mph for the V10 Plus.


The 2017 Audi R8 is a two-seat midengine exotic sports car offered in coupe form only. There are two trim levels: V10 and V10 Plus.

Standard equipment on the V10 includes 19-inch wheels, LED headlights and taillights, automatic high beams, LED engine-compartment lighting, adaptive magnetic-ride suspension dampers, adjustable drive settings (Drive Select), front and rear parking sensors, auto-dimming power-folding heated side mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a manual tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leather upholstery, 18-way power seats (with adjustable side and leg bolsters), automatic climate control, a synthetic-suede headliner, Audi Connect online services with mobile WiFi, Audi's MMI infotainment system, a navigation system, voice controls, a 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit instrument and infotainment display, a rearview camera, Bluetooth and a 13-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system with satellite radio, dual USB ports and an auxiliary input jack.

Options on the V10 include 20-inch wheels, larger carbon-ceramic brakes, red-painted brake calipers, variable-ratio steering, carbon-fiber exterior and interior trim and extended leather upholstery (with or without diamond stitching).

The R8 V10 Plus gets a 70-hp boost and also comes standard with the carbon-ceramic brakes, a sport suspension with conventional (non-adaptive) dampers, a carbon-fiber exterior trim package (including a fixed rear spoiler), an additional "Performance" mode for the Drive Select system, a smaller fuel tank, sport exhaust, a sport steering wheel, partial power sport seats with fixed seatbacks (no recline) and a relatively basic five-speaker audio system.

If you want the extra power but wish you could have the base model's luxuries, you're mostly in luck. The V10 Plus can optionally be equipped with the 18-way power seats, extended leather upholstery and a Bang & Olufsen stereo. Also optional are the 20-inch wheels and variable-ratio steering. You're stuck with the smaller gas tank and conventional suspension, however.


The 2017 model year marks the end of the line for the 4.2-liter V-8 engine, leaving the V-10 as the only engine option. Audi also cranked up the juice on the base R8 V10 and the V10 Plus, as the V10 now produces 540 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque, while the Plus cranks out 610 horses and 413 pound-feet of twist. These numbers account for a 15-horsepower and an 8-pound-feet bump on the V10, and a 60-horsepower and 15-pound-feet increase on the Plus.

Gone is the six-cog manual, making the seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission the only available gear-swapper. This transmission delivers power to all four wheels for a 0-to-62 mph time of 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 201 mph in the V10 model – this makes it 0.1 second quicker to 60 mph and gives it a 6-mph-higher top speed than the 2015 model. As for the V10 Plus, it can sprint to 62 mph in 3.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 205 mph – 0.4 seconds quicker and 8 mph faster than the 2015 model.

The S tronic dual-clutch tranny features a trio of modes, and offers a manual-shift function for maximum control. Launch control allows even an amateur to nail perfect from-the-line starts every time. Lastly, the S tronic gearbox features a mode that opens the clutches when the driver lifts his foot from the accelerator at speed above 34 mph, putting it into a coasting mode that helps save fuel.

Speaking of fuel, the base V10 model is rated at 20 mpg combined, while the V10 plus registers at 19 mpg. These numbers account for a 10 percent reduction in fuel consumption, which Audi attributes to the new-for-2017 stop-start system.

For 2017, the R8 also gets a revised quattro all-wheel-drive system that diverts up to 100 percent of the power to the rear wheels in normal driving conditions for a more dynamic driving experience. However, once things get a little slippery, up to 100 percent of the power can head to the front wheels for maximum traction.

The R8 e-tron also gets an updated driveline that consists of an electric motor that produces 456 horsepower and 679 pound-feet of torque – that’s a healthy bump over the last R8 e-tron’s 375 horsepower. This massive output allows the all-electric R8 to hit 62 mph in 3.9 seconds and top out at either 131 or 155 mph. Additionally, Audi has bumped the e-tron’s cruising range to 280 miles, thanks to a new 92 kWh battery in place of the old 49 kWh battery, and it’s added a new system to recharge the battery in just two hours.


► Type-- V10 5.2 litres
► Power-- 533 hp @ 7,800 rpm (397 kW)
► Torque-- 398 lb·ft @ 6,500 rpm (540 N·m)
► Induction-- Atmospheric
► Power to weight ratio-- 239.6 W/kg
► Bore-- 84 mm
► Stroke-- 92 mm
► Fuel type-- Premium
► CO2 emissions-- 5,964 kg/year
► Transmission-- 7-speed automatic
► Drivetrain-- AWD


Standard safety equipment on the 2017 R8 includes antilock brakes, stability control, side airbags, knee airbags and head curtain airbags. Front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera are also standard.

Somewhat surprisingly, advanced safety features like blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and collision mitigation with automatic braking are unavailable.


Three main changes have improved the R8’s fuel economy by an estimated 13 percent while also cleaning up emissions ever so slightly. In addition to last year’s high-pressure direct injection, Audi has added port injection, which provides better emissions at startup and allows the computer to choose which type of injection works best for the throttle demands.

The addition of cylinder deactivation is the main contributor to the 2017 R8’s improved fuel economy. Under light engine loads, it shuts down five cylinders. It can use either cylinder bank to power the car, and when the deactivated bank dips below optimal operating temperature, the system can switch banks. Audi has also added a sailing feature that eliminates engine braking during low-speed cruising when the Audi Drive Select system is in "Comfort" mode.

These changes won’t make the 2017 Audi R8 fuel efficient. The EPA rates the coupe at 14 mpg city, 22 highway, 17 combined, while the Spyder manages the same numbers. That merits a score of 5 on our green scale.


By : DigitalTrend

Edited by : Shahen Tharammal
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