Anyone familiar with Audi's growth in the American market from Euro-upstart to purveyor of lauded luxury rides can’t help but be amazed that the same company that once built the Audi 5000 now crafts vehicles as beautiful as the 2014 Audi R8. Skipping a model year, the 2014 Audi R8 represents the first real revision of the dramatic two-seat performance car. Although many of the changes made to the vehicle are subtle, they represent an important evolution of what has become the grand tourer of choice for anyone stuck in the snow belt.
Let's take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2014 Audi R8.
01. The 2014 Audi R8 Delivers An Exotic Shape
The 2014 Audi R8 still turns heads with the same skill as its predecessor thanks to a sleek, wedge-like shape that wears Audi's broad corporate grille well. Bristling with air intakes front, rear, and even in scoops mounted on its sides, the Audi R8 is unmistakable in its mission as a high performance ride for the jet set. Moving beyond that, however, the R8 is also more elegant than some of its flamboyant supercar peers, with updated headlights, as well as new tail lights help to freshen up what was already an enticing design. Inside the Audi R8 maintains the brand's status quo of outstanding layout and materials use.
02. The 2014 Audi R8 Features A Mid-Engine Layout
The 2014 Audi R8's otherworldly appearance - and performance - can be attributed in part to the decision by the German automaker to design the car around a mid-engine chassis. What this means is that the motor itself actually sits behind the driver and ahead of the rear axle, which balances the vehicle's weight as much as possible and creates a rotation point that aids and abets handling. Driving the R8 on the track is a largely drama-free experience thanks to this particular architecture, as the car doesn’t suffer from the same front-heavy bias that some of its high speed competitors have to deal with.
03. The 2014 Audi R8 Offers Two Robust Power Plants
The 2014 Audi R8 starts out with a 4.2-liter, eight-cylinder as its base engine, and this unit is tuned to provide a healthy 430 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque. More juice is available from the R8's optional 5.2-liter V-10, a motor that threatens to stop the Earth from rotating on its axis when it unleashes its 525 horses and 391 lb-ft of twist. Although fuel mileage figures have yet to be released for the 2014 edition - and honestly, does anyone really care? - neither engine has been altered from its 2012 spec, which means a likely highway rating of 21-mpg for the V-8 and 19-mpg for the V-10.
04. The 2014 Audi R8 Provides A Choice Of Transmissions
sports car traditionalists can rejoice with the news that the 2014 Audi R8 will continue to offer a six-speed manual transmission mated to either of its available engines. In a world where manually-engaged clutches are rapidly disappearing from the supercar segment, the Audi R8 stands tall with its row-it-yourself gearbox. For drivers who are more concerned with all-out performance there is additional reason to be happy with the 2014 update, as a new seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission replaces the previous model's single-clutch automated six-speed manual. The vehicle's shift times have decreased substantially with the fresh tranny, but even more importantly the car now changes ratios in a much smoother manner than ever before.
05. The 2014 Audi R8 Comes With Standard All-Wheel Drive
The 2014 Audi R8 doesn't ask just the rear tires to harness the mighty output of either is eight or ten-cylinder engines. No, it engages the services of Audi's famed quattro all-wheel drive system in order to ensure error-free launches and tenacious grip when driving on the track. The Audi R8's quattro all-wheel drive is in fact so adept at shuttling torque from one axle to another (in order to prevent wheel spin) that the V-8 edition can reach 60-mph from a standing start in a mere 4.2 seconds. Opting for the V-10 lops more than a full second from that particular metric.
06. The 2014 Audi R8 Comes In Two Standard Models
The 2014 Audi R8 is well-equipped regardless of which model is ordered, but there is a pecking order on the supercar's spec sheet. The base R8 V8 4.2 trim features its namesake engine, as well as gear such as HID headlights, heated leather seats, Bluetooth connectivity, and an adaptive suspension system. The V10 5.2 adds additional goodies like parking assistance (so one doesn't scratch its shiny 19-inch rims), a rearview camera, LED headlights, a navigation system, and an upgraded stereo system. Most of these items can be added to the R8 V8 4.2 as options.
07. The 2014 Audi R8 Features The New Plus Trim
Debuting for 2014 is a new version of the Audi R8 dubbed the R8 V10 Plus 5.2. What does the word 'Plus' give you? For starters, it adds an upgraded exhaust system and a re-tuned ECU in order to squeeze out 550 horsepower and 398 lb-ft of torque from the same 5.2-liter, ten-cylinder engine found in the standard V10 5.2. Audi has also lightened the R8 V10 Plus 5.2's platform by more than 100 lbs (mostly through the use of materials such as carbon fiber and the addition of ceramic brakes), in order to further improve handling, acceleration, and stopping power. Top speed for the car has been bumped from the regular V10 5.2's 195-mph to 198-mph, and the sprint to 60-mph is accomplished a few tenths of a second quicker as well.
08. The 2014 Audi R8 Is Safe As Houses
In addition to optional equipment such as a rearview camera, the 2014 Audi R8 also comes with must-have safety gear such as dual forward airbags, side impact airbags, and even knee airbags on both sides of its cockpit. Anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control and traction control also come free of charge with the 2014 Audi R8, and of course the vehicle's quattro all-wheel drive adds a degree of safety in a wide variety of weather conditions. Even without the vehicle's available ceramic brakes the R8 is a champion when it comes to hauling itself down from highway speeds, reaching a standstill in a very competitive 104 feet.
09. The 2014 Audi R8 Will Be Available In A Convertible Model, Too
Just like the 2012 Audi R8, the 2014 version of the car will also come in a drop-top edition. Dubbed the 'Spyder,' Audi fans will be able to purchase both V-8 and V-10 editions of the open-air supercar, which should appear sometime after the coupe model hits the market in March of 2013. There is one exception to the Spyder's lineup: the R8 V10 Plus 5.2 model will be offered exclusively as a coupe, which means those looking for the ultimate in Audi performance will have to lean their head of the window to simulate the wind blowing through their hair.
10. The 2014 Audi R8 Breaks The $100k Barrier
Pricing for the 2014 Audi R8 has yet to be released, but it seems an almost certainty that the vehicle will start at well over $100,000 as it did the year before. The 2014 Audi R8's price could conceivably swell past the $150,000 mark once factoring in trim levels and options packages, which makes it a pricey addition to anyone's driveway. That being said, while the Audi R8 might seem expensive the performance it delivers is on par with vehicles costing significantly more, and it also provides a high level of comfort and daily usability that is not typically seen amongst the ranks of exotic supercars.