CAR Magazine Publishes Next-Generation Audi R8 Intel Report by Georg Kacher
by, 12-19-2011 at 03:25 PM (12344 Views)
At Fourtitude we like to think we're well-connected to the inside line in Ingolstadt, even ahead of the curve. Then there are guys like Georg Kacher, someone we hold in the highest regard for his own nearly unmatched insight into product development at Audi. Kacher's published a new piece just this morning over at CAR and it highlights what he currently knows about the upcoming R8... both the facelift due out in 2012 and the all-new version due in 2014. Here's a quick rundown.
Audi R8 P.I. (Product Improvement) Due in 2012
Some of this intel about the "facelift" for the current R8 generation dubbed internally as "Type 42" has already been known but is worth reiterating. First and foremost, the R8 will ditch the more track-focused single clutch R-tronic for a smoother shifting dual clutch S-tronic. Power on the V10 bumps from 525 bhp to 540 bhp (and we also hear but not mentioned that the V8 will bump from 420 bhp to 450 bhp to match the improvements on this engine as seen in the RS 5).
More interesting is the stuff we hadn't yet heard. Here Kacher suggests that the R8 P.I. will receive A6-like MMI infotainment.
What We Think on MMI for R8 P.I.
This makes for some interesting consideration of hardware because thus far the R8 and Lamborghini Gallardo have been based on the same older infotainment architecture as seen in the current A3 and TT. As we understand it, movement to full functionality as it is in the latest MMI cars like A6, A7 and A8 with Google Maps, Audi Connect, etc. would necessitate development of the MOST-based fiber optic network used on the MLB cars. This is a wholly different system and would be a costly add in what is effectively a mid-lifecycle freshening. We wonder if, more specifically, the hardware improvements for the R8's infotainment will be more closely related to that of the A1 as this has been a proven improvement on that PQ25-based car and PQ25 shares more in common with the A3/TT based system used in the R8 currently.
Another option might be to adapt the new MMI from the upcoming MQB A3 to the R8 P.I. that will include Google Maps and even better graphics rendering thanks to its adoption of the NVIDA Tegra 2 chip. Audi teased the new system at last year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) when it presented along with NVIDIA management, confirming their involvement. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
"RSe" a Production R8 e-tron
Another interesting note in the Kacher piece that is barely mentioned is that of the electric-powered R8, the production version of the e-tron Concept that was promised by Audi development boss Michael Dick. There's no new technical information here and the car will no doubt share the facelifted bodywork of the R8 P.I. as opposed to the latest evolution (seen above in red) that popped up at Frankfurt last September.
We test drove an even earlier generation of the R8 e-tron as early as 2010 though it remained to be seen whether the car would make it into production as promised. Kacher suggests it will following the facelift. Even more interesting, he refers to it as the "RSe", the first time we've heard such a name. Up until now, the car has been referred to as R8 e-tron.
Not included in the Kacher piece but worth mentioning, we hear the new R8 will debut no later than Geneva this spring and possibly before that time.
All-New R8 in Early 2014
Here's where things get even more interesting. An all-new R8 including new chassis architecture is due in early 2014. Kacher's report says design of the car will evolve, including a possibly controversial move of dropping the R8 coupe's trademark side blades. Also on the chopping block according to Kacher is the manual transmission. MMI, says Kacher, will evolve to be just a single multi-function screen set between the speedometer and tachometer. The German also lists a heads up display and variable intensity LED lighting as likely new features.
Audi has already revealed its multi-material space frame strategy in the form of the upcoming front-engine MLB evo plan. Audi development boss Michael Dick outlined plans for the R8's upcoming MSS platform years ago and from the sounds of Kacher's piece, MSS will also be multi-material. Though still made predominantly of aluminum, the new generation R8 will also feature carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) where it's deemed most efficient to do so. Kacher suggests CFRP will be used specifically on the rear firewall, transission tunnel and b-pillar. As a result, weight savings are said to shed about 53 lbs while stiffness is also raised 13%. Even more impressive, Kacher suggests Audi is shooting for a curb weight of about 2200 lbs.
As for engines, Kacher says this all-new R8 will initially launch with the 4.2 V8 and the V10 uprated again to 550 bhp. He suggests that mid-way through the production cycle of the MSS-based R8 that the 4.0 TFSI from the new S8, S7 and S6 may find its way in to the R8. No doubt enthusiasts seriously hope that this last part is true. Frankly, since test-driving the new S8 , we think inclusion of the fantastic new 4.0 TFSI in the R8 program can't happen soon enough.
And Beyond MSS
Kacher's intel goes very far out... so far it goes beyond even the life span of the all-new second-generation R8 in 2014 and that platform's subsequent product improvement. Following its move to MSS, Kacher reveals the R8 will then migrate to a new MSB-M (modular rear-wheel drive matrix, mid-engine) platform that's currently being devised by Porsche for the Volkswagen Group, a platform that will underpin many future exotics from Ingolstadt, Stuttgart and Sant Agata Bolognese at the very least.
Read the full report from Kacher and see CAR's own rendering of a next-generation MSS R8 after the jump.