Just when we thought the R8 couldn’t get any better, Audi introduced the first 12-cylinder diesel engine in a high-performance roadgoing sports car at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show. The V12 TDI with a displacement of six liters powers a concept car based on the Audi R8. This unit generates a huge 500 hp and 737.56 lb-ft of torque. The V12 TDI is closely related to the engine in the Audi R10, the two-time Le Mans winner – so it catapults the Audi R8 into supercar terrain concerning performance too. It sprints from zero to 62 mph in just 4.2 seconds and its top speed is well over 186 mph. The peak torque, reached at only 1,750 rpm, paves the way for effortless acceleration that is unrivaled even at this level.
The dynamic character of a sports car depends not just on its performance and torque; the transmission ratios have to be right too. In keeping with the character of a high-performance sports car with unbeatable torque potential, the transmission in the R8 V12 TDI has six manually operated gears. The manual transmission is very compact in design. Together with the small-diameter double-plate clutch, this means it can be installed low down. The manual transmission has very short shift travel and utterly precise guiding of the shifter into the open gear lever gate.