The new version of the R8 sports a 5.2-liter V-10 engine derived from the one in the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4. For Audi duty it puts out 525 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque, which translates to the road through quattro all-wheel drive. Audi promises 0-60 mph runs in 3.9 seconds--damn close to the 2009 Nissan GT-R and the 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1. Six-speed and R-tronic transmissions are offered--and speaking of GT-Rs, there's a "launch control" program for drama-free, supersonic accel runs.
Revised brakes, 19-inch wheels, and a retuned suspension are a part of the V-10 package. Visual cues for the V-10 model include black and chrome trim on the outside, and a two-bar cross brace for the grille, the side sills are wider--and the V-10-engine is on display through the rear window.
Audi won't confirm whether this R8 V-10 will ever make it to the U.S., but it's on track for European sale early in 2009 for a price of about $180,000. Stay tuned for more from our 2009 Detroit auto show coverage--and in the meantime, lap up some exquisite high-res photos over on our 2009 Audi R8 page.