At last, a new R8. It took its time, didn't it?
Can you believe eight years have passed since the first Audi R8 graced UK roads? Where does the time go, eh? Anyway, this is the all-new model, sporting a subtle but suitably sharp makeover, weight-saving tweaks to its foundations and a new V10 engine that is offered with either 533bhp or 602bhp in the V10 Plus model.
Didn't you just mention an all-electric version?
Oh yes, there'll also be an e-tron version that customers can actually purchase this time, rather than merely salivate over. Audi has been beavering away in its battery labs, so the T-shaped battery pack that runs along the floor of the vehicle can now propel the high-performance electric motors for over 276-miles before a recharge is required.
It won't sound as good as the V10, will it?
No, the e-tron will produce a haunting whine rather than a savage bark but it will be rapid, with initial reports suggesting it can smash the 0-62mph sprint in 3.9 seconds and go on to a top speed of 155mph.
But that's nothing compared to the 602bhp V10 Plus model, which will happily complete the same sprint in 3.2 seconds and go on to tickle the 205mph mark. Further proof that hairy-chested petrol engines still rule the performance roost.
How can you tell the difference between the two?
The V10 Plus model gets the new sports exhaust design - complete with fancy squared-off tailpipes - as standard and a fixed rear wing. The lesser-powered model has an electronically retractable rear spoiler and more basic rear pipes.
Will Audi be annoyed if I say it looks a bit like a pumped-up TT?
They probably won't be delighted with that statement but much of the design language has been carried over from its little brother. The angular front lamps and sharp grille are pure TT; the new R8 also features the same Virtual Cockpit dials inside.
Virtual Cockpit, what on earth is that?
It's fancy language for the digital display that now takes the place of analogue instrument binnacles. Basically, a 12.3-inch TFT screen sits behind the steering wheel and displays everything from the speed and rev counters to satellite navigation instructions. It's one very suave interface, which is controlled by a few steering wheel-mounted switches and a dial on the centre console. The tech has allowed designers to de-clutter the interior, so it's now as spartan as a modern art exhibition.
Any other updates I should be aware of?
Well, the R8's underpinnings have also been completely revised, which won't mean much to many customers but the track enthusiasts will appreciate a chassis that is 40% stiffer than it's predecessor. The new multimaterial Audi Space Frame has been pinched from the Lamborghini Huracan and ensures the second-generation R8 weighs 50kg less than the model it replaces, thus improving performance further.
How much will it cost?
We have no idea how much the all-electric e-tron model will set customers back, but we do know that the standard 533bhp model will cost £121,000 and the more powerful V10 Plus model will be priced £137,074. Customers can obviously plunder an extensive options list, which includes rowdy paint jobs, a special sports exhaust system and massive 20-inch rims.