Geneva LIVE: 2017 Audi R8

The second-gen R8 packs up to 610 horsepower from a 5.2-liter V10.

Audi has introduced the long-awaited 2017 R8 at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show.

The outgoing R8's entry-level V8 mill has been dropped, and the new model's base engine is a Lamborghini-derived 5.2-liter FSI V10 engine rated at 540 horsepower and 398 lb-ft. of torque. Linked exclusively to a seven-speed S tronic transmission controlled by shift paddles, the ten-cylinder rockets the R8 from zero to 62 mph in 3.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 200 mph. A brand new version of Audi's quattro all-wheel drive system helps put the power to the ground.

Buyers after more power can step up to the R8 V10 plus, which boasts an evolution of the base model's V10 that has been tuned to generate 610 horsepower and a healthy 413 lb-ft. of torque. The plus model is capable of reaching 62 mph from a stop in 3.2 seconds before going on to a top speed of 205 mph.

Fuel economy checks in at about 20 mpg for the R8 V10 and 19 mpg for the R8 V10 plus. Both models pack a start/stop system, a coasting function built into the transmission and Audi's cylinder on-demand technology, which seamlessly turns the V10 into a five-cylinder when its full output isn't needed.

The R8 tips the scale at 3,428 pounds thanks in part to a chassis made out of lightweight materials such as aluminum and carbon fiber. All of the car's body panels are made out of aluminum, and select components (including the front splitter and the rear diffuser) can be crafted out of carbon fiber at an extra cost.

Looking the PartThe new R8's styling is a careful evolution of the first-gen model that borrows styling cues from recent Audi concepts such as the sport quattro that bowed in Frankfurt in 2013. The coupe gains a sharper-looking front end characterized by a wider rendition of Audi's trademarked Singleframe radiator grille with honeycomb inserts, angular headlights and a deep bumper with two large air ducts accented by blade-like inserts.

All R8s come standard with LED headlights, and buyers in select markets can order Audi's high-tech laser beam headlights at an extra cost.

Out back, the R8 features a pair of thin, elongated tail lamps, a discreet spoiler that automatically extends, a sizable air diffuser and two air vents that mirror the ones found up front. The V10 plus is nearly identical to the base V10 but it gains a bigger rear spoiler that creates additional downforce and carbon fiber trim on both ends.

The new R8 stretches 174 inches long, 48 inches tall and 76 inches wide, making it roughly the same size as the outgoing model.

Life AboardThe evolutionary treatment continues inside the R8, where the cockpit's basic layout is largely carried over from the original model. The coupe is fitted with Audi's Virtual Cockpit, a digital and fully configurable instrument cluster that was inaugurated by the third-gen TT. The driver can configure the high-resolution 12.3-inch screen to display a wide variety of data including navigation directions, acceleration and lateral forces as well as vital information about the car and its surroundings.

The list of options includes no less than five upholstery colors, two leather packages, a new diamond stitching pattern and a sprinkling of clear-coated carbon fiber trim. Additionally, Audi's exclusive program lets buyers design a unique R8 from the ground up.

Built in Audi's new Böllinger Höfe, Germany, factory, the 2017 R8 is scheduled to go on sale in Germany next summer. The base model will cost €165,000 (about $187,500) and the more powerful plus model will retail for €187,400 (roughly $213,000). U.S. pricing and availability will be published at a later date.

What's Next? An all-electric version of the R8 called e-tron is scheduled to go on sale before the end of the year, and the coupe will spawn a rear-wheel drive GT3-spec race car called R8 LMS. Both models will be on display next week in Geneva.

The topless R8 Spyder is expected to debut next fall at the Frankfurt Motor Show and go on sale across Europe in the spring of 2016.

Live images by Ronan Glon.

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