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Audi pushing the envelope with two debuts at NAIAS

On the heels of their best year in the US market to date, Audi shows no sign of resting on their laurels as the refreshed R8 lineup and the all-new American debut of the RS 5 Cabriolet arrive at NAIAS January 14 – and this is only the beginning.
Posted: January 4, 2013 - 2:27AM
Author: Don Bain

The highly anticipated U.S. debut of the 2014 Audi R8 model line and new Audi RS 5 Cabriolet will woo the crowds with their seductive style and power when they make their North American debut in just 10 days.

As one of the most sophisticated supercars on the market, the 2014 Audi R8 is the peak of Audi performance. The classically styled RS 5 Cabriolet harkens back to the days of the exotic European roadster bred with track-tested engineering DNA and steeped in the joy of open air driving. A four-seat convertible with a soft top exudes exquisite elegance and power.

Both models are built for heart pounding track performance, but equally at ease on a leisurely weekend drive.

“Coming off the momentum we’ve built with the launch of the all-new Audi S models, the new Audi R8 and RS 5 Cabriolet further invigorate the next chapter of our Audi performance models,” said Scott Keogh, President, Audi of America. “We know that driving enthusiasts are excited to have these cars come to our shores, but they will be even more thrilled to know this is just the beginning.”

2014 Audi R8
The new R8 is available for 2014 with three different engines between the R8 V8, the R8 V10 and the R8 V10 Plus. The high performance supercar has been made more dynamic and powerful thanks to a newly developed seven-speed S tronic transmission that boosts the 0-60 mph time by 0.3 seconds in the R8 V10 Plus.

The new seven-speed S tronic double-clutch transmission significantly enhances performance of the Audi R8, while the new transmission improves interior comfort with smoother shifts.

The new R8 V10 Plus produces 550 horsepower and 398 lb.-ft. of torque, rocketing from zero to 60 mph in a breathtaking 3.3 seconds, with a top speed of 196 mph. It has shed 100 lbs. of weight compared to the R8 V10 thanks to carbon fiber side blades, front splitter, rear diffuser and spoiler, in addition to a smaller fuel tank, the omission of power seat mechanisms and ceramic brakes.

Styling adjustments to the new model include redesigned LED headlights standard, a hexagonal Singleframe grille, new side mirrors and large, round tailpipe trim. Rear lights on all the new models include an innovative turn signal treatment.

The Audi R8 V10 is only one tenth of a second behind the Plus with a 0-60 mph time of 3.4 seconds from 525 horsepower and 391 lb.-ft. of torque. Similarly, its top speed is only one mile per hour less at 195 mph.

The Audi R8 V8 FSI produces 430 horsepower and 317 lb.-ft. of torque, rating a zero to 60 mph of 4.2 seconds and a top speed of 186 mph – still darn fast and certainly no slouch.

An Audi R8 owner has a choice of a gated 6-speed manual transmission or the S tronic. The Audi R8 Spyder is available with the V8 or V10 engine. The R8 V10 Plus comes only as a coupe.

2014 RS 5 Cabriolet

The already successful RS 5 coupe adds to its model series with the debut of the high-end soft-top, open-air roadster embodying the truest form of the classic sports car tradition. With comparable performance numbers to the coupe, the RS 5 Cabriolet sports a lively, naturally aspirated V8 engine with FSI direct injection.

The 4.2-liter engine generates 450 horsepower at 8,250 rpm with a maximum torque of 317 lb.-ft. between 4,000 and 6,000 rpm. With its svelte curb weight of 4,420 lbs., the Audi RS 5 Cabriolet pirouettes from zero to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds. With a top speed limited to 174 mph, the elegant Cabriolet has a surprising fuel economy, freeing it from the distasteful gas-guzzler tax.

The styling both in and out retains the spirit of the RS 5 Coupe. Storing the top takes only 2.12 cu-ft. of its 13.42 cu-ft. cargo capacity. Split rear seatbacks and a trunk pass through add to the convertible’s versatility. The body is reinforced to high rigidity, and aluminum front fenders compensate for some of the added weight of the structural reinforcements.

The new LED light strips illuminate the headlights and taillights without any conventional incandescent lamps. Like the lights, the rear bumper was also redesigned; its diffuser is now much higher, and a honeycomb screen insert encloses the two large elliptical tailpipes of the exhaust system. On the trunk lid there is a subtle matte carbon spoiler lip for additional downforce.

The sport seats have power adjustments, high bolsters, integrated head restraints, a lumbar support and a pullout thigh support. Upholstery offers a choice of a leather and Alcantara in black or lunar silver or the option of fine Nappa leather.

The soft top opens in 15 seconds at the touch of a button and closes similarly in 17 seconds – even at speeds of up to 30 mph. On hot summer days, occupants can take advantage of the optional climate-controlled seats to keep their cool.

The 2014 RS 5 Cabriolet gets a fuel economy of 16-mpg city, 22 highway or 18 combined.

The 2014 Audi R8 and RS 5 Cabriolet will both go on US sale this spring.