Fitted in its stylish new clothes and sporty footwear, this modified Audi supercar is ready to party
ABT-SOLUTELY Stunning Photo: Metamorphosis Production

When Audi debuted its R8, the car blew everyone away. It looked like no other vehicle the German marque had ever made, and it was also the first supercar that rolled off its production line. While it’s already a looker with its low-slung body, aggressive snout, distinctive rear and stylish flanks characterised by two tall “blades” just aft of the doors, this didn’t stop ABT, expert tuner of cars from the brands that make up the Volkswagen Group, from using its extensive know-how on the speed machine. 

This Audi R8 used to be white, until local ABT agent Autovox purchased it. Once the car arrived on its premises, it underwent an extensive makeover that took more than six months, including road testing, to ensure that it would outshine, outrun and out-handle its stock counterpart.

First up was a fresh coat of Sikkens’ latest water-based paint. This special product is not only more eco-friendly than standard paints, it is also as lasting and lustrous, as proven by the gunmetal shade picked for this R8.

Once the paint had dried, and the entire car was polished and waxed, a plethora of aero body parts from ABT was installed. These include a front and rear bumper, side skirts and blades, and a rear wing. Every piece is crafted from carbon fibre and complements the sporty profile of the car. Each unit has also been designed to work in tandem with the other parts to give this two-door extra downforce and stability when it’s travelling at high speeds, and also when the roads get all bendy.

Speaking of bends, Audi’s engineers have endowed the R8 with an undercarriage built to carry as much speed as the car can handle – and, with the added advantage of quattro all-wheel drive, it can show many competitors a thing or two about hard and fast cornering. Thanks to its new set of KW Variant 3 coilovers, this R8 can now also clock higher g-forces.

KW is known for top-notch suspension components and these dampers, matched with progressive springs, sit at the top of their road car range. Besides featuring three-way adjustability (height, rebound and compression), this set is slightly more “special” than other Variant 3 systems because it also boasts a unique function all supercar owners can appreciate. At the push of a button, all four ends of the vehicle can be raised by up to 40mm. This means no more scraped bottoms and scratched front bumpers, especially when navigating speed bumps and carpark ramps, and hence no more time-consuming visits to the body shop.

Another aftermarket item that helps with the car’s ability on twisty tarmac is its tyres. The Continental ContiSportContact 5 is currently the brand’s best road tyre, used on many of the best performance rides. The ones used by this R8 (at the rear) measure 305/30 R19 – that’s wide enough for a good grip in most driving situations. Shod around ABT CR Superlight alloy wheels, the entire combo is substantially lighter than the original 19-inch items. This results in the reduction of unsprung mass, which translates into faster acceleration.

Performance-wise, the R8’s 4.2-litre V8 is equipped with Audi’s fuel stratified injection – meaning direct injection, twin chain-driven camshafts, dry sump lubrication and variable valve timing (exhaust and inlet). All of these combine to give the car an output of 420bhp and 430Nm. And, with a firm step on the responsive throttle pedal, the century sprint takes just 4.6 seconds.

However, this R8 is quicker than that – and will even top the standard car’s maximum speed of 301km/h – because Autovox has armed the engine with a few choice enhancements.

The Capristo exhaust, a full stainless steel unit, makes the most thrilling of noises when the revs climb. Push the engine to its redline of 8250rpm, and the V8 sings like a racecar. If this sounds (pun intended) too loud, the driver can use the remote control to flip a valve located within the exhaust to quieten it. This function is a great add-on when you need to conduct a decent conversation (read: one that does not involve too many exclamations of “huh?” or “sorry?”) and also when you’re driving back home late at night so you don’t wake up the whole neighbourhood.

Also helping the car breathe better is a Pipercross sports air filter. With its high-flow design, the V8 motor will never be starved of much-needed oxygen. That it makes a throaty sound at higher engine speeds is a bonus that only a petrolhead will well and truly appreciate. 

The total bill for modding this R8 came up to a whopping $140,000 – or roughly one-quarter of the cost of a new model. That’s quite a hefty sum to pay whatever the size of the buyer’s bank balance, but testament to Autovox’s expertise and popularity, this sweet supercar has already found a new home. And we’re sure its new owner will have a super time, starting and revving it “ABT”. 


This article first appeared in Torque.

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