The previous V8 powerplant has been overlooked, owing in part to stiff tax laws on engines over 4.0 litres in key markets such as China. “We are working on a solution,” Hackenberg told Autocar, suggesting a cheaper and less powerful model could be added to the line-up at a later stage.
Stylistically, the new Audi leans heavily on its predecessor. Despite the apparent visual similarities between the two, every exterior element is described as new, including the new R8’s signature single-frame grille, distinctive LED headlamps, side-blade treatment and complete aluminium body.
Audi insiders have confirmed to Autocar that the new two-door supercar was originally styled under the guise of former Audi design boss, Wolfgang Egger.
However, incumbent Audi design boss Marc Lichte is said to have made detailed changes to the appearance following his arrival in Ingolstadt early last year.
In line with recent developments at the German car maker, Audi is offering the new R8 with its hi-tech laser headlights. These use a laser-guided spot lamp for the high beams, along with dynamic turn signals at the front. Dynamic turn signals are standard at the rear.
At 4442mm long, 1944mm wide and 1241mm high, the new R8 is the same length as the old R8, but 39mm wider and 9mm lower than before.
Together with the new R8 coupé revealed here in a series of official photographs, Audi is also preparing a successor to the R8 spyder, although it isn’t planned to be shown until later this year, most likely at the Los Angeles motor show in November.
The mid-engined coupé is underpinned by a new spaceframe structure that is claimed to weigh 200kg.
Although still manufactured predominantly from aluminium, it also receives new carbonfibre-reinforced plastic elements in a move that is claimed to contribute to a 66kg reduction in the kerb weight of the new R8 V10 Plus, which tips the scales at an official 1454kg.
As well as being significantly lighter, the new structure is also said to provide a considerable 40% improvement in static rigidity.
The suspension retains a combination of double wishbones front and rear. They are allied to standard steel springs and dampers or an optional Magnaride package that provides continuously variable damping control.
While mirroring the set-up used on the old R8, Audi claims the underpinnings have been thoroughly revised, with lighter components brought in from its LMP and LMS racing programs to provide crucial reductions in unsprung masses.
Read Autocar's last drive in the first generation Audi R8
R8 buyers will be offered a heavily updated version of the first-generation model’s 5.2-litre engine in two different states of tune, when it goes on sale later in 2015.
Manufactured at Audi’s Gyor plant in Hungary, the V10 now has a new cylinder-on-demand system and comes mated exclusively to a standard seven-speed dual-clutch S tronic gearbox.
In standard form, the 90-degree unit kicks out 532bhp at 8000rpm and 398lb ft at 6500rpm, giving the new R8 V10 a subtle 15bhp and 7lb ft more than its predecessor.