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Audi updates the R8 for 2019. Image by Audi.

Audi updates the R8 for 2019
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What's all this about?

It doesn't seem all that long ago since the current Audi R8 made its debut, and now the everyday supercar is getting some mid-cycle updates to keep it looking sharp. In addition to improving its looks, the boffins at Ingolstadt have carried out some performance updates to extract even more power from the fabulous naturally aspirated 5.2-litre V10. Audi will continue to offer the R8 in both coupe and convertible Spyder body styles and two power forms - standard and the higher Performance model, (previously called the V10 plus).

So, what's changed with the styling?

The most noticeable changes to the Audi R8's styling come at the front end where the car gets a new grille. While the bonnet is unchanged, the introduction of three slots just below the bonnet line mirror those that first appeared on the new Audi A1 and also feature on the updated R8 LMS race car. On the road-bound version of the R8, closer inspection reveals that these are blanked off, purely aesthetic and don't serve any purpose for cooling or ventilation.

As for the grille itself, it now has a more three-dimensional mesh insert and a thinner surround. The combination of these changes is the appearance of the car's nose being lower than before. A new front bumper design, meanwhile, features larger intakes and more aerodynamically optimised parts.

Are those new headlights?

Not entirely. The internals of the headlight unit now get a darker finish while the designers have added what they call 'eyelids' that appear like smaller intakes where the light unit meets the singleframe grille surround. Optionally, buyers will still be able to specify the laser headlight options, which offer higher levels of illumination over a longer distance, but come with a high price tag.

What about the rest of the car?

Fans of the first-gen Audi R8 will welcome the return of large oval exhaust outlets at the rear of the car. On the regular model, these are surrounded by a gloss black or carbon fibre surround, depending on your taste, while the Performance version gets a titanium grey finish to the surround. A beefy rear diffuser adds some more purpose to the back end, while a new mesh insert that was previously on either side now stretches across the full width of the rear.

What about the engine?

Both versions of the updated R8 get power increases, but it's the regular model that gains the most. Power increases from 540hp to 570hp in that car, along with a torque increase of 10Nm to 550Nm. That extra bump in power also knocks another tenth of a second from the race to 62mph. The more powerful V10 Performance gains titanium valves inside and also sees its maximum power output rise, up by 10hp to 620hp and torque increases to 580Nm.

This is likely to be the last outing for the 5.2-litre V10 in its current form due to ever-tightening emissions regulations. So, if you've ever been tempted to own one of the best engines of the modern era now is your chance.

Will there be a rear-wheel-drive version?

Audi isn't confirming the arrival of another R8 RWS just yet, though with the previous limited production run model being well received, we suspect the folks in Audi will find it hard to resist the temptation of another. We certainly hope so.

Dave Humphreys - 23 Oct 2018

Earlier articles featuring 2019 Audi R8

2018-10-02: Audi unleashes R8 LMS GT3 on Paris

2019 Audi R8. Image by Audi.2019 Audi R8. Image by Audi.2019 Audi R8. Image by Audi.2019 Audi R8. Image by Audi.2019 Audi R8. Image by Audi.

2019 Audi R8. Image by Audi.2019 Audi R8. Image by Audi.2019 Audi R8. Image by Audi.2019 Audi R8. Image by Audi.2019 Audi R8. Image by Audi.    - Audi road tests
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