Audi R8 gets more power, new look for 2019

It's more engaging to drive, too.

Audi has introduced the updated R8 after a short teaser campaign. The coupe and convertible models get a new design and more power for the driver to play with.

The R8 carries on with a naturally-aspirated, 5.2-liter V10 engine. Though Audi's press release didn't include technical specifications, British magazine Autocar reports the 10-cylinder makes 562 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque thanks in part to ECU tweaks. In comparison, the outgoing R8 is rated at 533 horsepower and 396 pound-feet of torque. The magazine adds the extra power offsets the weight of extra emissions equipment.

The V10 Plus model is now called R8 Performance. It gets an evolution of the 5.2-liter that delivers 603 horsepower and 417 pound-feet of torque thanks to modifications like a titanium valvetrain. Both variants of the R8 use a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive system.

Audi promises it dialed more response and feedback into the steering to make the R8 more engaging to drive and reduced its stopping distance by re-calibrating the ECU. Three new driving modes called dry, wet, and snow, respectively, are also available.

Car-spotters will be able to identify the updated R8 by looking at its front end. Designers gave it a wider grille surrounded by a frame that now underlines the headlights. Three slots right under the hood line create a visual link between Audi's range-topper and the Sport Quattro coupe that dominated the rally scene in the 1980s. Out back, the air vent that stretches the entire width of the car is positioned a little bit lower while the diffuser boasts a different design.

The updated Audi R8 will go on sale in Europe in early 2019. Deliveries will begin shortly after. Details about the American-spec model will be released at a later date.

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