A headturner since the day it was first unveiled, Audi’s R8 supercar still guarantees stares and the instant attention of cell phone cameras on the daily. Having experienced both the R8 5.2 v10 and the R8 Spyder versions, we know firsthand the kind of contemplation Audi’s halo car commands. So for its mid-cycle refresh the Four Rings sees no reason for any major aesthetic updates — just LED headlights and taillights, standard, and some minor body panel tweaks (new bumper, grille, enlarged diffuser and circular tailpipes). The most significant change is the implementation of a new seven-speed S-tronic transmission — a huge boon for the car, seeing as its transmission was the one point of complaint in both of our reviews (as we wrote earlier, “Disappointingly, the only thing Audi was unable to upgrade was the original R8’s R-tronic automatic transmission,” as well as calling it “muddled” compared to Porsche and AMG’s trannies). And results for the new transmission are evident: Audi claims R8s with the new S-tronic will improve their 0-60 mph times by three-tenths of a second — a significant leap. Purists will be delighted to know that the gated 6-speed manual transmission is still an option.
In addition, Audi introduces a new R8 V10 Plus model which will act as the line-up’s flagship.The R8 V10 Plus is upgraded with lightweight material throughout, and features the same CFRP (carbon fiber reinforced plastic) used on the R8 GT. Its V10 also gets a slight nipple tweak, raising power to 550 horsepower and 398 pound-feet torque.