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based on the unit in the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 (which in turn was based on the 5.2 FSI V10 as used in the Audi C6 S6 and Audi D3 S8), but is re-tuned to produce a power output of 532 metric horsepower (391 k W; 525 bhp), and generate 530 newton metres (391 lbf·ft) of torque.

Although it was rumoured by the automotive press since the announcement of the production R8 in 2006, it was only in August 2008 that spy shots of a convertible R8 "Spider" from filming scenes of the movie Iron Man 2 were published online.

It uses two chain-driven double overhead camshafts (DOHC) per cylinder bank, and utilises variable valve timing for both inlet and exhaust camshafts.

The 4 wheel drive system is biased towards the rear; it sends 30% of its power to the front wheels and 70% to the rear.

The R8 road car was officially launched at the Paris Auto Show on 30 September 2006.