The Audi R8 is to get a facelift for 2012 with cosmetic tweaks, extra power for the V8 and V10 and a seven-speed S-Tronic gearbox.
The supercar with a mainstream car maker’s badge attached that is the Audi R8 has been something of a success as a halo car for the Audi range since it arrived in V8 form in 2007 (well, probably 2008 by the time most customer cars turned up).
Since the original V8 R8 arrived we’ve had an absolute deluge – in supercar terms – of R8 models from Audi including the R8 V8, R8 V8 Spyder, R8 V10, R8 V10 Spyder and the rather costly R8 GT and R8 GT Spyder.
But through that time the engines – apart from in the R8 GT – have remained the same, as has the woeful R-Tronic gearbox. But that’s set to change next year with an R8 Facelift and some oily tweaking to bring the R8 up to date.
The 5.2 litre V10 in the R8 V10 will get a power boost – up from 518bhp to 533bhp – and we will finally get a decent auto ‘box with a seven-speed dual clutch S-Tronic ‘box offered for the first time. And not before time; the lack of a worthwhile auto ‘box has turned many off the R8.
The 4.2 litre V8 in the entry-level R8 V8 will also get a jump in power – and the S-Tronic box – with output going up from 424bhp to 444bhp, essentially the same as the Audi RS5.
We’d also expect the R8 GT and R8 GT Spyder to get something of a tweak. At the moment Audi manages to charge an extra £80k premium on the GT models, thanks in no small part to their harder edge and an extra 34bhp. But the 2012 R8 V10 gets an extra 15bhp, eroding the already marginal performance edge of the GT, so a tweak here is inevitable too.
Cosmetically we don’t think Audi will do a huge amount. The updates are likely to be subtle – Audi don’t want to make the current model look old – so the usual tweaks to bumpers and lights, some new paint and alloy options and a bit of an interior tart-up seems the likely recipe.
All of which should make the Audi R8 good for a few more years at least.
Audi R8 GT Spyder Photo Gallery
(24 photos – click any thumbnail for full gallery)