2012 Audi R8 facelift revealed?

Is this the new 2012 Audi R8 supercar?
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This image, first published by automotive blog Fourtitude, may provide us with our first look at the revised Audi R8.

The image was allegedly issued to showcase the German manufacturer’s LED design expertise.

If this is the new Audi R8, the dramatic headlights represent an aggressive new direction for Audi design, moving away from the traditional assembly to a razor-like LED-only setup.

Audi Australia's Anna Burgdorf said she had no information about the vehicle in the image above, and said she could not confirm if an update for the R8 was due in 2012.

"Certainly, product updates are usual in the mid-life of all carlines but I can't specifically confirm for the R8," Ms Burgdorf said.

Other than the headlights, the vehicle in the image has no front side air intake slats. Depending on the model, the R8 features either two or three horizontal slats, which are designed to optimise airflow. This image simply shows a gaping hole, with the headlights suspended delicately at the top. Whether or not this is the finished design, we are not yet sure.

Another variation on the current design is the hexagonal grille. Audi has been cutting the corners off the top of its grilles – think A5, A6, A7 and A8 – for the latest iteration of its designs. It seems a no-brainer that the R8 would follow suit when the update arrives.

An update to the Audi R8 is expected sometime in 2012, and some have suggested the vehicle in the image above may be in the preparation stages for a debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show in around three weeks.

Audi began production of the R8 around five years ago in 2006. Audi Australia introduced the Audi R8 in October 2007.

The V8 and V10 engines are expected to carry over into the updated R8 range, with power tweaks anticipated for both. There are also rumours flying around that Audi has been testing 2.5 TFSI and 3.0 TFSI mules of the R8, although these are unconfirmed at this stage.

It is expected Audi’s dual-clutch S tronic transmission will replace the current R tronic single-clutch unit in the new range, which should lead to improved automatic driveability.

What do you think? Are we looking at the new 2012 Audi R8, or something else altogether? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.