The two-seat, mid-engine R8 sports car remains offered in Coupe and Spyder body styles, with a choice of 430-horsepower, 4.2L V8 or 525-hp, 5.2L V10 engines. They come paired to either a 6-speed manual or R tronic automated manual transmission. The latter gearbox includes Audi launch control, which helps provide a perfect quick launch from a standing start, and all R8 models include quattro all-wheel drive.
R8 Spyder convertible models come with a power soft-top roof that can be closed or opened in just 19 seconds and can be operated at speeds up to 19 mph. The roof also features triple-layer insulation, a carbon-fiber cover and a heated rear window. All R8 coupe models include a glass window over the lighted engine bay, while Spyder models come with a vented aluminum cover. Spyder models also have different side air intakes.
The interior of the R8 is a surprisingly luxurious place. The arched, cockpit-style instrument panel of this two-seater allows quite a bit of interior space--enough for taller drivers--and the seats come upholstered in soft Napa leather or suede-like Alcantara and the interior can be customized with various trims and inlays.
The R8 GT is a new, limited-edition version of the model, for 2012 and it includes a special tune of the 5.2L V10 making 560 horsepower, along with a performance-tuned suspension, a carbon-fiber front bumper, special carbon-fiber rear wing and diffuser and other carbon fiber throughout the interior. Appointments are a bit different inside, too, with a matte-carbon-fiber look complemented with Alcantara seat and interior trim.
Audi says that engineers optimized and reduced weight throughout the R8 GT, cutting about 180 pounds--even though they've managed to keep most of the same interior appointments and conveniences as the 5.2 coupe. Thanks to that and the aerodynamic improvements, the R8 GT can get to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds and to a top speed of nearly 199 mph.
Interior appointments available on the R8 include power heated sport seats; a 465-watt, 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system; and a navigation system with live traffic info. Safety isn't skimped either, even though the R8 is first and foremost a world-class exotic sports car. Front airbags, seat-mounted side bags, and knee airbags are all included and the aluminum space frame construction plays a role in keeping occupants secure.