2019 Audi R8 Revealed: The Everyday All-star

2019 audi r8 revealed the everyday all star

As supercars go, Audi’s R8 is one of the more endearing examples. Unlike the stereotypical Lamborghini Huracán driver, you don’t normally see someone exiting an R8 wrapped in a gaudy, overpriced t-shirt from Ed Hardy, their hair slicked up into a pompadour that clears the car’s roof by less than a millimeter. No, the Audi driver looks like someone who probably has to work for a living to afford such baubles and isn’t all that interested in flaunting it. They’re someone who probably dreamed of owning a Porsche 911 as a child, made a lot of smart financial decisions as an adult, and ultimately found themselves with more money than they needed.

Whether or not this portrayal is accurate is largely irrelevant. The assumption is that someone who bought an R8 is focused on the fundamentals — fitting, considering that’s very much what the automobile is about. Refreshed for 2019, Audi is keeping the R8 true to form. Visual enhancements are subtle and minor mechanical improvements have been made everywhere else to help build a better car.

The mid-engined Audi will persist with the 5.2-liter V10, as expected. The manufacturer claims the sweet-sounding and naturally aspirated unit will continue forward in two flavors. At present, that means 532 horsepower or 610 hp for the Plus model. However, with its sister car, the Huracán, recently seeing an upgrade in performance, we expect Audi to bump up those figures a bit. But the Germans are being rather secretive about the updated R8. Odd, considering they teased it earlier this week and just made an official announcement for the 2019 model year.

That caginess extends to the suspension. We know it also saw improvements, but the hardware implemented is not fully known. However, Audi did say it tuned the steering for superior feedback, adding that a variable-ratio dynamic steering system exists as an option.

The car also gains new drive modes. Dry, wet, and snow will all be added to the car’s dynamic setting, which seems a little crazy. This author likes slinging vehicles through rain and slush more than most, but it’s difficult to imagine anyone wanting to test the limits of their “budget” supercar in a blizzard. That said, Audi gets a lot of praise for the adaptive all-wheel drive system in the R8 — which also sees improvements. Maybe it’s a match made in heaven.

Audi also retuned the ESC to help the car’s braking. The manufacturer now claims the R8’s 62-to-0 mph distance is nearly 5 feet shorter in ideal conditions. Meanwhile, stopping from 124 mph now requires an estimated 16.4 fewer feet. That ought to be handy on a track. Weight savings are likely modest, but every little bit helps. By implementing carbon and aluminum on a few select parts, the automaker hopes to stack those benefits. While it hasn’t given an official weight, Audi says the 2019 R8 sheds almost 4.5 pounds by swapping the front stabilizer to a carbon fiber-reinforced polymer.

Visually, it’s very similar to the 2018 model year. However, alterations to the front fascia give it a tastefully menacing presence. The most glaring change is a series of openings just above the grille, a nod to the original Sport Quattro. It’s still unclear if they direct air anywhere useful, however. On the back, a redesigned diffuser sits below a long, central vent, straddled by round exhaust ports. Overall, it makes a bolder statement, but doesn’t venture beyond the boundaries of the Audi’s signature styling.

New lightweight 20-inch, five-spoked “V” wheels are available as an option, while 19-inch rounds come standard. As in previous incarnations, carbon-ceramic brakes are available for those interested in track days. Audi also improved the R9’s dry sump system to keep oil moving around the V10 when subjected to repeated instances of lateral gravity.

R8 customers can choose from up to three exterior packages, depending on engine. These add various highlights to the front splitter, the side trims, and the diffuser. You an also have the Audi rings and badges on the exterior painted in a high-gloss black if you want. Two new metallic colors — Kemora Gray and Ascari Blue — join the exterior paint choices.

According to the manufacturer, the 2019 Audi R8s will arrive at dealerships in Germany and other European countries early on in 2019. No date has been set for their North American counterparts, but we’d expect them to follow shortly afterward. Pricing is TBD, but don’t expect anything less than $138,000. Expensive for most, though ludicrously affordable for the segment.

[Images: Audi]

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  • SixspeedSi SixspeedSi on Oct 24, 2018

    Initially, I do think this looks better than the prior second-generation model. It's definitely more aggressive, which imo, is a good thing for a car of this caliber. The R8 is an amazing car often overshadowed by the Huracan. Solidly built, very fast, and comfortable.

  • Mark Morrison Mark Morrison on Oct 24, 2018

    If I were to ever buy a supercar it would be an R8. Maybe I’m the only one but I mostly cringe in embarrassment whenever I see a Mclaren, Ferrari or Lambo in the wild. I’ve never seen one (save perhaps for someone older in a 355) that doesn’t have a driver seemingly deliberately looking like a douche rather than just a wealthy person in a car. Image isn’t everything but I wouldn’t want to be associated with that. I’d be blushing every time I got in and out of it. Oh by the way times 1,000 if it’s a convertible.

    • See 2 previous
    • Energetik9 Energetik9 on Oct 25, 2018

      I've never thought of an R8 as a super car. It best completes against the Porsche 911, and perhaps the Mercedes GT. I've only driven the 911, but I've always read that the 911 is the better drivers car and better well rounded. Not really sure how you can compare an R8 to a Ferrari or McLaren. Different cars with different purpose and experience.

  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.
  • TitaniumZ Of course they are starting to "sour" on the idea. That's what happens when cars start to drive better than people. Humanpilots mostly suck and make bad decisions.
  • Inside Looking Out Why not buy Bronco and call it Defender? Who will notice?