Sam Philip04 May 2010

Ultimate R8 on the loose

Harder, faster, lighter Audi R8 GT: 560bhp, 100kg lighter and 0-62mph in 3.5 secs? Watch out, Gallardo Superleggera

Ultimate R8 on the loose

Big news. Big, big news. Audi has revealed the R8 GT, the most extreme version of its four-wheel-drive supercar yet.

Lighter, harder and faster than the, er, ‘standard' R8 V10, the GT will be out to pick a big, bloody fight with the Porsche 911 GT3 RS and Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera when it arrives in the UK early next year.

See more pics of the new R8

You want some headline stats? How does 560bhp, 1,525kg and 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds sound to you? That's 42bhp more powerful, 100kg lighter and 0.3 seconds quicker than the stock R8 V10. Big numbers.

The extra 42bhp comes from a handful of tweaks to the R8's 5.2-litre V10 - which gets red cylinder heads too, though we're not sure they make much difference to its power output - but it's the weight saving that's the big news here.

The R8 GT is fitted with thinner glass and a polycarbonate rear screen (saving 3kg), a lighter battery (9kg), lighter carpets (8kg) and sports bucket seats (a whopping 32kg saving). There's a liberal dousing of carbon fibre-reinforced polymer - the R8's rear bumper, rear hatch and sideblades are made of the lightweight material - saving 15kg overall. Top speed rises to 199mph, an improvement of 2mph.

To deal with the extra speed, there's a new fixed rear wing, which improves downforce without compromising the R8's 0.36 drag coefficient.

The R8's Quattro four-wheel-drive system has been revised for increased lairiness. The viscous coupling now chucks 85 per cent of the torque to the rear wheels as standard, and there's a new mechanical locking diff, too. The coilover springs can be manually adjusted, lowering the R8's body by 10mm. Carbon ceramic brakes are standard. In other words, this is a serious, serious machine.

There is bad news, however, and that bad news is... 33. That's how many R8 GTs will reach the UK, from a total production run of 333. Price? No official word yet, but we know it'll cost 193,000 Euro - that's around £167,000 - in Germany.

Excited? You should be. Let's throw it out there: would you take the R8 GT, Gallardo Superleggera or 911 GT3 RS. All three, you say?

Sam Philip

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