Along with the reveal of its all-new R8 supercar, German brand Audi confirmed two additional variants of the car: the battery-powered R8 e-tron and the R8 LMS race car. The LMS racer is simply a successor to the current R8 LMS which competes in a number of GT3-spec competitions around the globe, but the R8 e-tron is set to be the first all-electric offering from the brand with the four rings.
After promising and then failing to launch both an A2 electric city car and a battery-powered version of the current R8, Audi eventually made the confirmation in early 2014 that an electric version of its second-generation R8 would be built and sold to the public. Now, with the arrival of the second-generation R8, Audi is sticking to its word.
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A U.S. launch for the new R8 e-tron hasn’t been mentioned (in other markets it will be available to order this year) but many of the car’s specs have been confirmed. It will feature a large T-shaped lithium-ion battery, structurally integrated into the center tunnel and behind the occupant cell.
2016 Audi R8
To offset the weight of the battery, the engineers used even more carbon fiber in the R8 e-tron’s construction. The basic supporting structure was enhanced by a carbon fiber-reinforced plastic rear-section module comprising the luggage compartment, with the material corrugated to ensure extra strength. Joining the weight-saving mods are some aerodynamic enhancements, made to both the body and wheels. Audi says these help the vehicle’s drag coefficient (cd) value coming in at a super-slippery 0.28.
Peak output is said to be double the original promise of 228 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque, which Audi says allows the R8 e-tron in its production guise to accelerate from 0-62 mph in just 3.9 seconds. Top speed can be limited to either 130 or 155 mph. For handling, targeted torque vectoring is available.
2016 Audi R8 LMS ultra race car spy shots
Sales of the new R8 LMS to customer teams worldwide will start with the 2016 motorsport season. However, starting this year, the new race car will be put through its paces by the works team at international long-distance and sprint races, as well as being available to customers as part of the Audi driving experience.