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New Audi R8 unveiled

  • Advanced quattro all-wheel-drive and V10 5.2 FSI engine means 0-62 mph in just 3.2 seconds
  • New technology includes digital dashboard and laser headlights
  • Order book opens in May, with deliveries later in late 2015

Here is the hotly anticipated new Audi R8 - ready to go toe-to-toe with old rival the Porsche 911, and relative newcomers Nissan GTR and Lamborghini Huracan.

From these pictures, released before the R8’s debut at the Geneva motorshow, we can see it shares the outgoing model’s basic shape but with sharper angles and a more driver-focused cockpit.

The headline statistics are the same as the old car – mid-engine, two seats, and massive power fed to Quattro all-wheel drive.

Naturally aspirated V10 only

While other car makers are resorting to turbocharging, the first new R8 engines will be traditional, non-turbo V10s.

The 5.2-litre FSI petrol unit comes in two tunes, one with 532bhp, and a more powerful version with 602bhp that is capable of 205mph.

With ten cylinders and no turbo in the way, the noise the R8 makes has always been a strong point. Audi says the new model will sound even better than before, with an exhaust switch on the steering wheel to turn it up to eleven.

There’s no manual gearbox this time around, only a seven-speed “S tronic” automatic transmission, which has a coasting function to help save fuel.

For times when you need less than the full complement of pistons, such as cruising on the motorway, the R8 uses cylinder-on-demand technology to shut down half of the engine.

With the addition of a start/stop system, Audi says the lower powered R8 will return 23.9mpg and CO2 emissions of 275g/km.

Will it drive like the old R8?

It’s hard to say without driving one, but the early signs look good. All four wheels are connected to double aluminium wishbone suspension, and adaptable magnetic shock absorbers are optional.

The handling can be tuned with Audi’s drive select dynamic handling system, which offers a choice comfort, auto, dynamic and individual modes.

New driver focused cockpit

This also adjusts the engine characteristics, steering, S tronic transmission and quattro system, and the optional magnetic ride, exhaust flaps and dynamic steering.

If the new sport seats are not hardcore enough for you, you can spec bucket seats that offer a tighter grip and lighter weight.

Sharper focus on technology

Debuting on the R8 are Audi’s new laser headlights, which can project a cone of light 600 metres into the distance.

Available from speeds of 37mph and above, the laser spot will supplement the existing LED high beams. A special camera spots other road users and adjusts the light pattern to avoid dazzling them.

The virtual cockpit seen in the Audi TT uses a 12.3-inch display and replaces the traditional speed and tachometer dials. The space where the old monitor sat now houses air vents and results in a much cleaner and more focussed dashboard.

The most important controls are now on the steering wheel, including the start-stop button and the Audi drive select button. The faster R8 also features a button for performance mode and a rotary wheel for selecting dry, wet and snow driving programmes.

Sounds great, I want one

You’ll have to be quick, since order books are already open, even before one Audi R8 review has been published. First deliveries start in the last quarter of 2015. Full UK pricing is expected to be confirmed after the Geneva unveiling.