Audi R8 2007-2024: history and legacy of the mid-engine of the four rings

He Audi r8 He has been one of the great representatives of sportsmanship so far this century. A unique model for a high-volume premium brand that could rub shoulders with more exclusive examples. A true supercar two-seater with engine in central position that will go down in collective memory for its contribution. And it will never return, because after almost two decades on the market its production has concluded and there will be no combustion substitute within the four rings brand.

Audi's flirtation with the mid-engine

Although until 2007 they did not have a mid-engine model in the range, the truth is that Audi had already experimented with this configuration. There were flirtations in the competition and then also through various prototypes. In 1991 we saw two specimens like the Audi Avus quattro and quattro Spyder. They stood out for their lightweight aluminum construction, but also for carrying the 6.0-liter W12 engine in a central position. The Avus barely weighed 1,250 kg and exceeded 500 HP, so it boasted outstanding performance.

It remained in the prototype phase and helped the Volkswagen Group to continue the work through Bugatti. In fact, years later Audi would also be inspired by the Veyron to make another creation. He Audi Rosemeyer From the year 2000 it followed those steps with the aluminum body inspired by the “silver arrows” of Auto Union, although now with the 8.0-liter W16 that would later bring so much joy to Bugatti and with more than 700 HP of power.

Audi Le Mans quattro Concept 2003

Shortly after, they became more serious about creating a mid-engine car. He Audi Le Mans quattro Concept It served in 2003 to celebrate the brand's three consecutive victories at the La Sarthe circuit between 2000 and 2002. It maintained that aluminum monocoque chassis configuration, with a mid-engine and the firm's quattro drive. In this case, he mounted the 5.0 liter V10 engine which had been developed for the Gallardo, but with the extra power provided by double turbocharging and stratified fuel injection to reach 610 HP.

Audi R8 (Type 42) 2007-2015

With the previous prototype, the first stone had been laid for a project that would arrive a few years later. He Audi r8 (Type 42) was the promised mid-engine supercar, which arrived in 2007 to captivate with its design and performance. The name was taken from the La Mans-winning R8 LMP and was based on the Lamborghini Gallardo. Their shapes were more rounded and adjusted to the philosophy of the four rings, with Frank Lamberty as design director, drawing attention to those “blades” behind the doors that would be his hallmark throughout his life.

Between his characteristics Highlights were the aluminum and carbon fiber body to keep the weight low and the fact that it had Full LED headlights, the first production model to have them by default. It was initially marketed with the V8 4.2 FSI engine, an atmospheric block that gave him a lot of joy at the time and that achieved 420 HP of power. Although the brand with the four rings had not put an end to the issue of mechanics.

2008 TDI prototypes

The concern caused Audi to experiment in several fields with the R8. That is why in 2008 two prototypes came to light that They carried diesel as their flag. It was the golden age of that fuel and that is why the R8 TDI Le Mans Concept and the R8 V12 TDI Concept were presented, both very close to production. The differences were aesthetic, since both had mechanical 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12 which complied with the Euro 6 regulations and achieved no less than 500 HP and 1,000 Nm of torque. It was faster than the standard V8-powered one, but the project would never reach production.

Arrival of the V10 in 2009

What did succeed was the introduction of a second mechanism in the Audi R8 range. They expanded the family with V10 5.2 FSI, the same atmospheric block that the Gallardo had and that allowed it to reach a higher power level. With 525 HP and 530 Nm of torque, the R8 was even more capable and now it was surprising for achieving the 0 to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds and a maximum speed of 316 km/h, somewhat above what the V8 achieved.

Furthermore, in the following years the coupe body with which it had been presented would no longer be the only option for its potential customers. In 2010 the Audi R8 Spyder would arrive, the convertible version that made all the sense in the world and that would accompany the model for the rest of his life.

e-tron Concept 2009

Although all the brand's electric cars are now known as e-tron, the 2009 Audi e-tron Concept It was the original and it was something much more interesting. With a modified R8 Coupé body, a completely electric model was made. Crazy for its time, it had four engines and reached 317 HP of power. With its 42.4 kWh batteries it reached a autonomy of 248 kilometers and its performance was not bad, although the total weight increased slightly.

Audi continued with the electric idea in mind and in 2011 presented the R8 e-tron Prototype, much closer to production. Its design looked similar to the rest of the range and the configuration changed. It had two electric motors to reach 381 HP and the battery grew to 48.6 kWh. The performance was similar to that of the V8 engine, but the project ended up being suspended due to the limited autonomy he achieved in real situations.

Audi R8 LMX 2014

At that time, the model was a technological reference and also served the brand as a test showcase. That is why they launched in 2014 the Audi R8 LMX, which was based on the coupé with V10 mechanics, but had a peculiarity. Limited to 99 units, it introduced laser technology for the first time in a production car. They were inherited from the Audi R18 e-tron quattro competition and were a hit on the table. In addition, it had a striking configuration and quite a few specific details.

Audi R8 (Type 4S) 2015-2024

In 2015 it arrived the second generation of the Audi R8 (Type 4S). The truth is that a quite notable change was introduced in several points. At the design level, it became more marked and angular, with the company's new language. Furthermore, the platform used was that of the Lamborghini Huracán, a more advanced one that improved in terms of weight and rigidity. It maintained the possibility of a coupe or convertible body, but simplified its mechanical range. The V8 was completely abandoned to focus on the V10.

In its access version it achieved 540 HP and improved its performance, although since then there have been all kinds of versions. With the 2019 facelift it reached 570 HP and there was also a V10 Plus with 610 HP and then a Performance with up to 620 HP of maximum power. At its peak it has accelerated 0 to 100 km/h in 3.1 seconds and to have a maximum speed of 331 km/h, a full-fledged supercar that also had other iterations.

Audi R8 e-tron 2015

with this generation the idea was taken up to make an electric version. The Audi R8 e-tron arrived in 2015 and in a limited run of only 100 copies. It maintained the configuration of two electric motors, with up to 462 HP and very good performance (although without reaching combustion). The main change was to add a 92 kWh battery, practically double the one it used at the beginning. allowed to reach 450 km of autonomyalthough it also increased its weight considerably.

Audi R8 RWS

With the second generation they also wanted to try other types of things. Although the R8 had always been a model with quattro drive and that DNA of the brand, in 2017 they launched the Audi R8 RWS to test what it would be like to have a powered supercar. It had the advantage of lightness and also offered a more purist behavior. It was limited to 999 units, so it offered a higher level of exclusivity.

With the 2019 restyling, this model was renamed RWD and was no longer limited production. He continued to stand out for the weight saving (-65 kg in the coupé) and by some specific elements in its configuration. Although it had the same 540 hp as the RWS, it later adopted the facelift's power increase to stay with 570 hp in the Performance version.

After a good number of limited special editions such as the Decennium, Green Hell, Panther Edition or Japan Final Edition; On March 22, 2024, the last unit to be manufactured of the Audi R8 left the production line. Its continuity is not considered due to the commitment to electrificationso it also meant the goodbye of the V10 engine at the four rings brand and sad news for the faithful followers of combustion.

Audi R8 sales

In the almost 18 years that it has been on the market, a total of 44,418 units of the Audi R8. Below we leave you a sample of the annual sales of the supercar:

Year Sold units
2007 2,952
2008 5,016
2009 3,074
2010 3,166
2011 3,349
2012 2,536
2013 2,595
2014 2,222
2015 2,191
2016 2,878
2017 3,068
2018 2,760
2019 1944
2020 1,651
2021 1,887
2022 1,068
2023 1,591
2024 470
Total 44,418

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