2019 Audi R8 Revealed: The Everyday All-star

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
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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]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

Consumer advocate tracking industry trends, regulation, and the bitter-sweet nature of modern automotive tech. Research focused and gut driven.

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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.

  • Carsofchaos Bike lanes are in use what maybe 10 to 12 hours a day? The other periods of the day they aren't in use whatsoever. A bike can carry one person and a vehicle can carry multiple people. It's very simple math to figure out that a bike lane in no way shape or form will handle more people than cars will.The bigger issue is double parked delivery vehicles. They are often double parked and taking up lanes because there are cars parked on the curb. You combine that with a bike lane and pedestrians Crossing wherever they feel like it and it's a recipe for disaster. I think if we could just go back to two lanes of traffic things would flow much better. I started coming to the city in 2003 before a lot of these bike lanes were implemented and the traffic is definitely much worse now than it was back then. Sadly at this point I don't really think there is a solution but I can guarantee that congestion pricing will not fix this problem.
  • Charles When I lived in Los Angeles I saw a 9-5 a few times and instanly admired the sweeping low slug aerodynamic jet tech influenced lines and all that beautiful glass. The car was very different from what I expected from a Saab even though the 900 Turbo was nice. A casual lady friend had a Saab Sonnet, never drove or rode in it but nonetheless chilled my enthusiasm and I eventually forgot about Saabs. In the following years I have had seven Mercedes's, three or four Jaguars even two Daimlers both the 250 V-8 and the massive and powerful Majestic Major. Daily drivers of a brand new 300ZX 2+2 and Lincolns, plus a few diesel trucks. Having moved to my big farm in central New York, trucks and SUV's are the standard, even though I have a Mercedes S500 in one of my barns. Due to circumstances with my Ford Explorer and needing a second driver I found the 2006 9-5 locally. Very little surface rust, none undercarriage, original owner, garage kept, wife driver and all the original literature and a ton of paid receipts and history. The car just turned 200,000 miles and I love it. Feels new like I'm back in my Nissan 300ZX with a lot more European class and ready power with the awesome turbo. So fun to drive, the smooth power and torque is incredible! Great price paid to justify going through the car and giving her everything she needs, i.e., new tires, battery, all shocks, struts, control arms, timing chain and rust removable to come, plus more. The problem now is I want to restore it and likely put it in my concrete barn and only drive in good weather. As to the writer, Alex Dykes, I take great exception calling the 9-5 Saab "ugly," finding myself looking back at her beauty and uniqueness. Moreover, I get new looks from others not quite recognizing, like the days out west with my more expensive European cars. There are Saabs eclipsing 300K rourinely and one at a million miles and I believe one car with 500K on the original engine. So clearly, this is a keeper, in love already with my SportCombi. I want to be in that elite club.
  • Marky S. I own the same C.C. XSE Hybrid AWD as in this article, but in Barcelona Red with the black roof. I love my car for its size, packaging, and the fact that it offers both AWD and Hybrid technology together. Visibility is impressive, as is its small turning circle. I consider the C.C. more of a "station wagon" by proportion, rather than an “SUV.” It is fun to drive, with zippy response and perky pick-up. It is a pleasant car to drive and ride in. It is not trying to be a “Butch Off-Roader”, or a cosseting “Luxury Cruiser.” Those are not its goals or purpose. The Corolla Cross XSE Hybrid AWD is a wonderful All-Purpose Car (O.K. – “SUV” if you must hear me say it!) with a combination of all the features it has at a reasonable price.
  • Ernesto Perez There's a line in the movie Armageddon where Bruce Willis says " is this the best idea NASA came up with?". Don't quote me. I'm asking is this the best idea NY came up with? What's next? Charging pedestrians to walk in certain parts of the city? Every year the price for everything gets more expensive and most of the services we pay for gets worse. Obviously more money is not the solution. What we need are better ideas, strategies and inventions. You want to charge drivers in the city - then put tolls on the free bridges like the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. There's always a better way or product. It's just the idiots on top think they know best.
  • Carsofchaos The bike lanes aren't even close to carrying "more than the car lanes replaced". You clearly don't drive in Midtown Manhattan on a daily like I do.