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2020 Audi R8 Spied: Styling Changes Are Just Part of the Story

Car and Driver logo Car and Driver 6/14/2018 Tony Markovich
2020 Audi R8 Spied: Styling Changes Are Just Part of the Story: Audi is trying to keep the R8 fresh for a few more years. Read more about the changes coming to Audi’s mid-engined sports car at Car and Driver.© Brian Williams - Car and Driver Audi is trying to keep the R8 fresh for a few more years. Read more about the changes coming to Audi’s mid-engined sports car at Car and Driver.

What It Is: A revised Audi R8, designed to boost interest in the mid-engined supercar as it heads into its twilight years. As made evident by the placements of the camouflage, the biggest visual adjustments are to the front and rear clips, as well as some possible changes to the side skirts. More significantly, Audi also is expected to introduce an entry-level model with a smaller engine and a lower price.

Research the Audi R8 on MSN Autos

The nose shifts from a vertical face to a more swept-back design. The lower air intakes ditch the slats that extended the light signature for mesh that’s similar to the grille texture. The grille appears wider, lower, and more angular, although it retains its hexagonal shape.

a car driving on a road: 2020 Audi R8 Spied: Styling Changes Are Just Part of the Story© Brian Williams - Car and Driver 2020 Audi R8 Spied: Styling Changes Are Just Part of the Story

The biggest change is at the rear. Behind each rear wheel is a massive oval-shaped exhaust tip, something that has been seen on earlier R8s but is different from the current design. As a result, the diffuser is also slightly different. More strikingly, the rear grille extends across the entire backside as a single unit, rather than being two separate elements with sheetmetal and the license plate in between. The interior looks mostly untouched.

Why It Matters: Audi has made it clear that the company has shifted its focus to electrification, and it’s likely that the current version of the brand’s halo supercar will be the last. But Audi still wants to maintain interest in the R8. It already released a rear-wheel-drive R8 and now is working on a mid-cycle styling update. At the same time, Audi will add an entry-level powertrain to the picture, making the R8 more accessible to a wider audience, which could help maintain sales momentum.

a red car parked on the side of a road: 2020 Audi R8 Spied: Styling Changes Are Just Part of the Story© Brian Williams - Car and Driver 2020 Audi R8 Spied: Styling Changes Are Just Part of the Story

Platform: This updated R8 will retain the current platform, Volkswagen’s modular sports-car system (MSS), which the R8 shares with the Lamborghini Huracán.

Powertrain: Currently, the only engine option is a 5.2-liter 10-cylinder engine. In standard form, it makes 540 horsepower, while the amped-up, 610-hp version is found in the V10 Plus. Although the V-10 will continue, arriving as part of this mid-cycle update will be a lower-spec engine offering in the form of a twin-turbo 2.9-liter V-6 (effectively replacing the V-8 that was available in the previous-generation car). This engine is seen currently in the Audi RS5, where it makes 444 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque, although outputs presumably would be higher in the R8. An eight-speed automatic transmission will send torque to all four corners using Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system; it’s not expected that Audi would offer a rear-drive version with the V-6 engine.

a close up of a car: 2020 Audi R8 Spied: Styling Changes Are Just Part of the Story© Brian Williams - Car and Driver 2020 Audi R8 Spied: Styling Changes Are Just Part of the Story

Competition:Acura NSX, Aston Martin Vantage, Lamborghini Huracán, McLaren 570S/570GT, Mercedes-AMG GT.

Estimated Arrival and Price: The revised R8 is likely to arrive early next year as a 2020 model. While the V-10 isn’t expected to stray far from today’s prices ($141,250 for the V10 and $196,950 for the V10 Plus), a V-6 version could cut the cost of R8 ownership by thousands of dollars, expanding the model’s appeal.

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