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Audi reveals updated R8 for 2019

24 October 2018 | by Michael Gooderham

Audi has revealed the 2019 update to its venerable R8 Coupé and Spyder. The mid-life refresh has, from a design point of view, essentially been confined to new front and rear bumpers, plus new wheel designs – all of which are noticeably more aggressive than the crisp yet relatively understated look of the four-ringed supercar thus far.

The new front end was previewed in the R8 LMS GT3 Evo racing car seen at this year’s Paris Motor Show, due to hit the track next year (more images in the second gallery). Audi claims the 2019 road car shares 50% of its components with this newly evolved GT3 racer.

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Appropriately, the racing version arrived first

That car, in amongst the racing-specific attachments, features a wider trapezoidal grille with three additional slots above it and a satin black graphic running through the headlights to make them look wider, while the rear fascia has been cleared of clutter to give one full-width heat outlet where the exhausts also live.

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Pre- and post-facelift comparison

Most, but not all, of this has transferred to the road version. The front end has the same enlarged central grille, much of which is blanked off, plus wider corner grilles (only a quarter of which are blanked off) with little fangs running through them at the outer corners. This is all to add ‘visual width’ to the nose. The headlights each have their own grille now as well (in case the LEDs get too hot?) which again makes them look wider than they are.

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Between the lights are those three new slots, apparently blanked-off for the street version, in much the same manner as the new A1 supermini – and supposedly meant to evoke memories of the trio of bonnet grilles on the original Sport Quattro, which Audi now refers to as ‘a brand icon’ rather than ‘cooling devices’ for whatever reason.

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The bodyside is almost identical to how it was before, save for the contrast-finish ‘sideblades’ now gaining a skinny third element which sits in the slotted side skirts, underneath the primary engine cooling intake behind each door. New optional 20-inch five-spoke wheels with several branches and slots, and complete with two different metal finishes, add detail complication.

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The rear fascia of the road car now boasts a full-width grille of its own, created by filling in the gap between the previous car’s two, which gives it a look similar to the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4’s rear end (ironic, given that it shared a platform with the old R8). Buyers can ask for the above area between the tail lights to also be grilled-in if they just can’t get enough of honeycomb mesh.

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Beneath that, the air diffuser has been made taller, and with it the two square-ish areas surrounding and highlighting the exhaust tailpipes – themselves now oval rather than rectangular – have also been enlarged… and given the questionable option of a contrasting ‘matte titanium’ finish to put huge visual emphasis on this VW Group product’s exhausts. Gloss black and optional carbon fibre surrounds are mercifully also available.

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Underneath, both specs of V10 engine are more powerful, by 30 horsepower for the base model and by 10 for the quicker ‘Performance’ (née ‘Plus’) version, meaning 570PS and 620PS respectively. All engine and body configurations can now hit or surpass 200mph, Audi claims. The suspension and variable power steering setup have also been revised to add precision and more differentiation between the selectable damper modes.

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Spyder version also available for greater V10 sound appreciation

Whilst we admittedly haven’t done as much research into Audi’s customers as Audi likely has, it seems an odd decision from the outside to take the more restrained of the two R8-Huracán cousins and make it, well, less restrained. Perhaps it was the only way they could think to update it, or perhaps there are customers who want something more aggressive than the current R8 yet less bombastic than the Lamborghini alternative.

Either way, this new look will be available to order from early next year.