Quite a few websites are reporting that the Audi R8 supercar will receive a facelift for the 2012 model year, as well as revised engines. But we’re going to stick our necks out and predict a big change to the engine line-up which the others don’t mention.
Concensus amongst our rivals seems to be that the existing V10 will get a tweak to 533bhp, with the 4.2 litre in the R8 V8 being brought up to the spec of the same engine in the Audi RS5 spec, so 444bhp.
We disagree. We think the 2012 Audi R8 V8 will get the 4.0 litre turbo engine developed in conjunction with Bentley and developing around 450bhp.
Why? Because we believe the 4.2 litre V8 in the RS5 is being phased out in favour of the new engine, a version of which will also be found in the 2012 Bentley Continental GT. The Audi S4 and S5 have dropped the normally aspirated version of the engine in favour of a twin turbo 3.0 TFSI V6 and we think the turbo 4.2 as fitted to the R8 and some RS models will also step aside in favour of the more fuel efficient turbo 4.0 litre.
We’re the only ones saying that, but let’s see who guesses right.
So do we agree with the concensus on the upgraded V10 then? Er, we can’t be sure. Rumour has it the Audi-Bentley 4.0 litre V8 could be made to achieve 600bhp plus with two turbos strapped to it — that’s the likely output for the Continental GT Speed we spied a few weeks ago. Would Audi continue to push the V10 when they have access to a more powerful yet more fuel efficient — ergo, less polluting — engine co-developed with Bentley? Or is that high output version of the engine likely to remain unique to the British luxury marque? We don’t know. A twin turbo 4.0 makes a lot more sense, but fans may not like the V10, which shares a link with the engine in the Lamborhini Gallardo, being dropped.
We might only have to wait a couple of months to the Frankfurt motor show to find out though.
The image is of the 2011 Audi R8 GT, not the facelifted car.