The first true supercar to be created by Audi, the R8, has won universal praise thanks to its handling, quality, every day usability and, in the V10-equipped model, performance numbers.
Despite the fact that it wouldn’t seem out of place if it were launched today, the truth is that Audi’s mid-engined wonder is already five years old, having been introduced in 2006.
Therefore, its replacement is already being developed and is due in 2014, with the open-top Spyder model to follow the next year.
But first, the current R8 will receive an update in 2012. According to Car Magazine, the refreshed R8 will get a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox replacing the sequential six-speed unit, while the upgraded V10 will receive a small bump in power and the interior will sport the latest MMI multimedia interface.
The big news, as far as the first-generation R8 is concerned, is the launch of a limited-production electric version towards the end of 2012.
The British publication reports that the second generation R8 will differ in many ways from its predecessor. For one, the aluminum bodywork and chassis will be replaced by a new architecture which, while still aluminum-based, will also feature carbonfiber for the transmission tunnel, the B-posts and the rear firewall.
Total weight will be reduced by around 100 kg (220 lbs), while torsional rigidity will increase by 13 percent.
On the engine front, we won’t see many changes as Audi is said to continue with its two naturally aspirated units. The base version will still be powered by a 4.2 V8, with its output bumped from 420 to 450HP, and the top version by a 5.2-liter V10 with 550HP.
However, down the road Audi may switch to the new turbocharged V8 that was recently unveiled in the Audi S7 and Bentley Continental GT, probably with a hike in power to 600HP.
As previously reported, the second generation R8 and the Gallardo’s replacement will make use of Audi’s MSS (Modular Sports car System) architecture, while the third generations of both models will employ a new platform developed primarily by Porsche.