The refreshed Audi R8 is now a reality. Rumours were bouncing all over the place as to what might happen beneath the cosmetic changes, with talk of a boosted V6 replacing the V10. We know now that such a change didn’t come to pass; in fact, the tried-and-true V10 gained 30 bhp in the base R8, while the V10 Performance Quattro (the new name for the V10 Plus) picked up a more modest 9 bhp. Still, modest isn’t exactly a word to describe the new R8’s punch, as even the base model will hit 60 mph in less than 3.5 seconds and with the Performance turning the same sprint close to 3 seconds dead.
Rumours still persist about the R8’s future, however. Will it become a hybrid or all-electric supercar? Will it even exist at all? Those are questions to address at a later time. For now, let’s take a proper side-by-side look at the new car’s styling tweaks (on the left) versus the outgoing model (on the right).
Audi didn’t rewrite the book on the R8’s styling from a head-on perspective, with obvious changes relegated to just a new front fascia. The chin on the new car is squared off a bit more, helped in part by the addition of small upright corner vents. The grille itself is wider, stretching closer to the headlights, and you’ll also see small air intakes between the lights and the fascia where none existed previously. The three narrow, horizontal vents at top of the fascia are impossible to miss (and pretty cool too), but look closely along the side of the new model and you’ll see new silver rocker trim.
The changes at the rear are more pronounced, but unless new and old models were parked side-by-side, you may not realise just how significant those changes really are. Gone are the R8's subtle trapezoid exhaust tips, replaced by large oval outlets in sculptured cut-outs that ensure these new cannons are anything but subtle. Equally obvious is the massive rear diffuser nestled between them, which is quite a bit wider versus the outgoing model. It's all part of a new rear fascia that also extends the rear vents from beneath the taillights to all the way across the car. Everything above that vent, however, remains the same.
Here's where things are considerably less different. In fact, the new R8 interior is a carryover from the previous edition, save for some new colour options for trim. Not that the R8's greenhouse was ever a bad place to be – the two-seater still does an admirable job of blending comfort and function with the car's ability to gain speed very quickly.
If you're keen to perform an in-person side-by-side comparison, you'll have to wait just a bit longer. The 2019 R8 is slated to go on sale in Europe first, beginning early next year.