What is it? Considered as one of the most docile and refined of the genre of super expensive, super high-performance sports cars, the Audi R8 supercar gets a mild freshening for 2014.
Exterior trim updates include a hexagonal “Monoframe” grille, new side mirrors, and round (rather than rectangular) tailpipes.
The R8 lineup continues largely unchanged: Three engines are available: a 430-hp 4.2-liter V8 that gives the car a top speed of 186 mph; a 525-hp, 5.2-liter V10 good for 195 mph, and a 550-hp, 5.2-liter V8 good for one more tick on the speedometer. Have fun finding a highway to try that! The new transmission is available with all three engines. The R8 comes as a coupe or a Spyder, with either of the lower engine options. All versions power all four wheels.
Pricing has not been announced, but the previous R8 started at $114,200, and ranged to $158,100 before picking from the extensive list of expensive options.
What’s new or notable? The biggest news is a new seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission, called S-tronic, which replaces the previous six-speed unit (dubbed R-tronic). Audi says the extra gear gives the automatic-equipped car quicker acceleration (by 0.3 seconds to 60 mph) and better fuel economy (as yet unspecified.) The extra gear is a tall overdrive; the car reaches top speed in sixth, not top, gear.
CR’s take: Hopefully the new dual-clutch is smoother than the old six-speed unit. Audi can bring an R8 to our track any time; V8 or V10, we aren’t picky!
When will it be available? Spring 2013.