For the Audi R8 5.2 FSI quattro high-performance sports car the mid-engine concept is the ideal solution. It results in an axle load distribution of 44 : 56, and it locates the engine close to the vertical axis, in the center of the car – so that the inertia of the engine’s mass hardly matters during swift direction changes.
A tour over a mountain pass or an excursion on a racetrack in the R8 5.2 FSI quattro is a truly amazing experience – the very epitome of dynamism. The high-performance sports car from Audi reacts to all steering commands with lightning speed, almost instantly. It attains extreme speed in the turns while staying practically neutral, and retains poise and safety in any situation. A contributing factor is the special kinematics of the rear axle – the predefined toe-in angle of the wheels under load ensures grip and stability.
Notwithstanding the exciting dynamics, the suspension provides surprisingly good comfort on long drives. The dual wishbones that steer all four wheels – a racing car feature – are forged of aluminum to reduce the unsprung mass. Rubber-metal bearings transfer the transverse forces precisely into the body. They also provide good longitudinal elasticity and absorb much of the undesirable vibrations from the roadway.
Developed on the North Loop: The fine-tuning
The hydraulic rack-and-pinion power steering contributes much of the feel of uncompromising precision which the R8 5.2 FSI quattro conveys. It delivers a highly differentiated, sensitive feedback via a sporty 17.3 : 1 ratio. The setup of the suspension is designed for even higher performance than in the eight-cylinder R8 – Audi has fine-tuned it with 8,000 test drive kilometers in the world’s toughest laboratory, the North Loop of the Nürburgring.
A standard high-end feature further broadens the dynamic spectrum – Audi magnetic ride adapts the operating mode of the suspension to the road’s profile and the driver’s style. The driver can switch over anytime between the comfort-oriented normal mode and the crisply firm sport mode. The pistons of the shock absorbers contain a circulating synthetic hydrocarbon oil in which small magnetic particles are suspended that measure only between three and ten thousands of a millimeter – about one-tenth the diameter of a human hair.
Applying a voltage to a coil causes a magnetic field in which the orientation of the particles change: they then impede the flow of the oil through the piston channels by orienting themselves crosswise to the flow direction. This happens in just a few milliseconds, much faster than the response in conventional adaptive dampers.
Using data from a complex sensor system, a control device continually recalculates the optimum values for each individual wheel. When the R8 5.2 FSI quattro heads into a curve, the damping force at the wheel on the outside of the curve is increased, which reduces the tilt of the body and increases the spontaneity of the response.
The new top model of the R8 series relies on a big tread – 19-inch wheels complete with tire pressure monitor. They are equipped with 10 spokes in a Y arrangement designed especially for the V10 and are brilliantly polished. Tire sizes – also for the winter tires – are 235/35 front and 295/30 rear. Optionally available in the same size from quattro GmbH are wheels with a five twin-spoke design with a titanium-gray or brilliantly polished finish.
Racing performance: The braking system
Deceleration is provided by a powerful braking system with lightweight aluminum calipers. The front brakes are equipped with fixed calipers with 8 pistons each, the rear brakes with 4 pistons each. The brake disks are internally ventilated and perforated to maximize heat dissipation.
The front brake disks are 365 millimeters (14.4 in) in diameter, the rear disks 356 millimeters (14 in). Each disk consists of a steel friction ring and an aluminum hub. They are interconnected by stainless steel pins, which prevents the transfer of temperature spikes.
As a customer option, Audi will equip the R8 5.2 FSI quattro with ceramic brake disks. They are painted anthracite gray and adorned with the exclusive “Audi ceramic” logo. In front, the braking effect is generated with a six-piston monoblock aluminum caliper and a brake disk with a diameter of 380 millimeters (15 in). In the rear, floating calipers and ceramic disks with a 356-millimeter (14 in) diameter are installed. Their base material is silicon carbide, an extremely hard, abrasion-resistant material with a diamond-like crystalline structure. Embedded in it are high-strength carbon fibers that absorb mechanical stresses.
The complex geometry of the cooling ducts ensures swift heat dissipation. Ten threaded elastic pins connect the friction ring to a stainless steel hub which in turn connects to the wheel hub. These ceramic disks are especially light: their combined weight is nine kilograms less than the weight of equivalent steel disks. They also hold up very well under the stresses of more aggressive driving and always remain free of corrosion.
The boundary region of the driving dynamics of this high-performance sports car is monitored by a specially designed stabilization system. By pressing a button it can be switched into a sport mode, which allows accelerating out of a curve with spectacular but safe oversteering. For especially dynamic driving, such as on a fast lap around a racetrack, the ESP including the automatic traction control can also be completely deactivated.
To provide passive safety, the car is equipped with two front airbags with two-stage triggering as well as head and chest sidebags. The integral head restraint system reduces the risk of a whiplash injury in a rear end collision.
The equipment, specifications and prices stated herein refer to the model line offered for sale in Germany. Subject to change without notice; errors and omissions excepted.