Published: 7/05/2010 at 12:00 AM
Newspaper section: Motoring
Audi's first supercar was supposed to go on diet, but it seemingly failed to heed the doctor's advice.
- Man, lightweight supercars just keep on comin'...
Yeah, almost every month this year. This time the market has been given the first preview of the R8 GT which is Audi's stripped-down version of the V10 model - not the regular V8. Other supercars to have gone on diet this year include Ferrari 599 GTO and Lamborghini LP570-4 Superleggera, among others.
- And what had the doctor prescribed for the R8?
A comprehensive workout at the gym to shed weight by 100kg. The prescription included the use of lightweight body materials like carbonfibre and replacement of parts such as thinner front windshield and bucket seats. We haven't got the space to go into detail, but the GT tips the scale at 1,525kg.
- Has it gained on muscle, too?
V10 tweaked from 525hp up to 560.
You bet. The standard 525hp 5.2-litre V10 petrol engine and six-speed automated manual gearbox has been modified to produce a higher 560hp, while torque has swollen from 530Nm to 540. This gives the GT a power-to-weight ratio of 367hp per tonne.
- And just how fast is it over the regular beast?
Audi says that the GT goes from 0-100kph in 3.6sec and 0-200kph in 10.8sec, compared to the stock version's times of 3.9sec and 12.0sec respectively. Top speed rises marginally from 316kph to 320.
- But that doesn't sound that cool against the Lambo...
Ah, you've already read about its rival in the sidebar... good. Yeah, the Lamborghini LP-570-4 Superleggera is still quicker than the R8 GT. In fact, the badges explain it all: the GT is more of a match for the normal Gallardo LP560-4. But to the aficionado, lightweight cars mean that we should take the Superleggera into consideration. And if you look at the weight figures, the GT is the porkiest.
- Could this point to an even madder R8?
Hmm... we'd like to be proven wrong, but there probably won't be one. You see, Audi and Lamborghini are owned by the same people. In fact, the R8 and Gallardo share the same basic V10 engine and aluminium space frame body and are distinguished in marketing terms (read: Lamborghini is on a higher plane in the supercar market).
- So the GT will cost less than the Superleggera...
Likely. Audi hasn't announced pricing yet. But sources estimate the GT will cost around 30% more than the R8, whose going price in the Thai grey market is around B16m. That means the GT would likely cost nearly B25m - B3m less than the Superleggera.
- Must I be quick in getting one?
Only 333 R8 GTs will be made. That's now the norm in the supercar business - go for rarity and boost the model range's value. But whether you need to be quick remains to be seen because an Audi isn't like a Fezza. Plus its performance is average rather than outstanding on paper. Remember the LFA of which only 500 will be made? But of course, the B43m price Lexus is asking for is way too much.