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    Next Audi R8 Facelift Exposed in Unofficially Official Photo?

    Rating: 18 votes, 4.28 average.

    Today we've stumbled across this photo released by Audi in some seemingly unrelated materials... perhaps inadvertently, but then again Audi never does things inadvertently. Pardon the pixelation, but we blew it up and pulled some shadows out of that grille to get a better view.

    Meant to show off Audi's LED design prowess, we're 99% certain the design buck shown in the shot also reveals next year's planned R8 facelift. When we first glanced at the small photo, all we saw was the headlight. Taking a second look, the photo really grabbed our attention.

    Here's what we see:

    1. Unlike the e-tron concept, e-tron spyder concept or other sportscar designs Audi has released in concept form, this is quite obviously an R8... but with several differences and that is most interesting indeed. The R8 facelift is due soon... but how soon?

    2. LED-rich, longer and more aggressively shaped headlight - It's possible this is a concept component, but likely not. First, it's not anything we've seen before... not e-tron or e-tron Spyder. If it is production, this suggests the R8's headlight assembly will stretch from the quarter panel entirely to the grille where it becomes pinpoint thin but still carries the amber glow of the turn signal.

    2. Hexagonal take on the Audi grille - Notice how Audi's been cutting the corners off the top portion of its grille on the A8, A7, A6 and new A5? The cut is here on this grille too, subtle but there and noticeably different from the current R8 grille.

    3. Grille Texture - Note the hole-style mesh of that grille. This is unlike anything we've seen in any current R8 and closer (but not exact) to the grille mesh texture of some RS cars.

    Here's what we don't see:

    1. Front Outer Intake Slats - To us this fascia looks unfinished. The R8's bold slat-work to the right and left of the main grille is a fairly fundamental part of its design. We doubt Audi will leave those side intakes completely open... but you never know. The no slate look is certainly very aggressive.

    So What Else Do We Know
    Word is, Audi has some very interesting R8 test mules running around in Germany. Spy photos have shown drivetrain mules and then there was that aggressively flared R8 GT that turned up at Nurburgring. We've also heard of mules fitted with the 2.5 TFSI and 3.0 TFSI, both sporting rear-wheel drive and possibly running S-tronic transmissions. Think Lamborghini Gallardo Balboni meets TT RS. "It's all part of Audi's experimentation in downsizing," said one source to us... or maybe it's just Rupert Stadler, Michael Dick and company's idea of a good time. Whatever they are, these aren't headed for production... this time around.

    Sources close to Audi tell us that the Audi R8 product improvement drivetrain changes won't be as radically changed as those rear-wheel drive test mules. Expect the V8 and V10 to carry over but perhaps with a slight power bump. Don't count on the V10 being swapped for the much-anticipated 4.0T quite yet as the V10 is expected to continue on in the R8 and Lamborghini Gallardo despite the big engine's retirement in non-high-rev form from the S6 and S8.

    The big news though will be the transmission. A dual-clutch S-tronic will replace the single clutch R-tronic transmission. As with S-tronic in Audi's other models, this new mid-engine S-tronic with twin clutches is expected to increase automatic mode drivability, which has been the biggest complaint about the current car.

    Now Here's Where Things Get Interesting
    We're told by someone who's seen production plans that production of the S-tronic begins as early as week 39. If that's so, then it's possible that the R8 product improvement (facelift) will be on at least the European market by this fall... which may mean the new R8 will bow at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. Week 39 is the last week in September and there's no other auto show event at which to show the car during that time unless Audi goes for a stand alone event. If this proves true, times to watch for coverage here likely either at the Volkswagen Group reveal the night of September 12 (afternoon in the States) or on Media Day 1 on September 13.

    Like we said, Audi doesn't slip photos by mistake. That we stumbled across this in materials provided to us makes us think the photo was cleared because the R8 product improvement is close... very close. If so, we'll see it at Frankfurt. If not, well, chalk it up to wishful thinking. It still remains possible that this is just a design buck of an alternative design that didn't get approved. That also happens. Still, we believe the chances are very high that this is the facelift.


    1. R5T's Avatar
      Someone had fun with photoshop.
    2. George@Fourtitude's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by R5T
      Someone had fun with photoshop.
      Actually, no. I know my source and it is official. This was a photo put out by Audi in some tertiary materials. Unless Audi photoshopped it, it's not fake. I did blow it up and dial out shadow to reveal more detail, but it's not a "creation".
    3. Travis Grundke's Avatar
      Wow, some great information there, George, thanks.

      Very impressed with the design evolution of the LEDs: most specifically in the new A6, the A3 Concept and now this R8 photo, they're definitely pushing to make Audi's LED implementation the most eye-catching and stylish in the industry.
    4. dsseven's Avatar
      Living in the states who would want a 2013 R8GT Spyder.,if you can get a completely revised V1O with an optional DSG for less money.
    5. R5T's Avatar
      No facelift, nothing to do with Audi AG.

      The picture shows a light design study of the "TU Dresden" (TU means technical university):





      Here's their blog: http://technischesdesign.wcms-file3....e/blog/?p=2059

      and here's the press release (in German language):
    6. Travis Grundke's Avatar
      Good find on the technical school blog.

      Regardless, it's a great design project for the next gen front LED designs.
    7. George@Fourtitude's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by R5T
      No facelift, nothing to do with Audi AG.

      The picture shows a light design study of the "TU Dresden" (TU means technical university):

      Here's their blog: http://technischesdesign.wcms-file3....e/blog/?p=2059

      and here's the press release (in German language):

      Wow, random find and thanks for digging it up. It was random enough I'm amazed this didn't run in any news rotation roughly a year ago when it seems to have been published. We'll run something today on it, albeit a year late.

      The image we published was in technical literature we received from Audi, and given its source we felt fair in publishing the story the way we did. So it had one key thing to do with Audi AG. We got it from them. This explains its presence though given the car has yet to be seen.

      Nice work by the school. It's a convincing facelift.
    8. cjoctavian's Avatar
      Updated 10-22-2011 at 11:22 AM by cjoctavian
    9. dsseven's Avatar
      ^Do you have higher quality pics or a link to that video?
    10. cjoctavian's Avatar
      I have uploaded it once again... We can see there a hint of hexagon singleframe and another shape of headlights (reminding of new A6 style). Was it shown by aim or just coincidence?
    11. cjoctavian's Avatar
      "They sparkle like precious stones: on the Audi R8 OLED concept hundreds of small triangular OLED lights outline the dynamic contours of the body."