3 May
Audi fails to address its halo car's main flaw in its GT

While Audi’s R8 is a stellar performer, other manufacturers aren’t sitting around twiddling their thumbs. With Ferrari dropping its 458 Italia, Merceds Benz its SLS AMG and Porsche its latest iteration of its superb Turbo, the R8’s competition has severely tightened in recent months. To hold back this tide, Audi just announced its limited edition R8 GT, of which there will be only be 333 made. By replacing several aluminum body panels with carbon fiber, and swapping in a thinner glass windshield and polycarbonate rear windows, Audi’s engineers have managed to shave off 220 pounds from the standard R8. In addition, The 5.2-liter V10 has tuned its power from 525 horsepower to 560, topping the output of its Italian brother, the Lamborghini Gallardo, which shares its engine. The R8 GT now has a 198.8 mph top speed, and can hit 0 to 62 mph in just 3.6 seconds. While that is a healthy improvement over the standard R8, the GT’s lack of a dual-clutch transmission is remarkable. When we tested the latest R8 last summer we noted that was the car’s only flaw, and at the time an Audi engineer explained that they hadn’t yet been able to configure their DSG twin clutch (which Audi has in its S4 and S5 models) for the 5.2 liter V10: “Now if you look at the R8, which now has the 5.2 V10, that has even more torque, so the development cycle of the S-tronic just isn’t there yet in order to be able to handle those forces,” he argued. Well Audi, I know you guys see the “truth in engineering”, so what’s the deal? Mercedes’ SLS AMG boats 563 hps and they managed to work in their 7-speed Getrag dual-clutch transmission, so there’s little to excuse this flaw — especially in the limited edition GT version. Sure shedding some flab and increasing power is nice and all, but without fixing their halo car’s one glaring weakness they’ve somewhat failed in the GT.

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