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Consumer Reports auto experts report from the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Audi R8

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.


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