R8 V8 Tuning

"This comes highly R8ed! "

The R8 is a stunning piece of engineering and is arguable one of the most easily drivable supercars around today.

Audi took the expertise they had in Lamborghini, and created the masterpiece that is the R8.

In my opinion Audi took the German supercar title from the Porsche 911 with the R8.

I must say that I am totally biased and I think the R8 is one of the best cars around today!

Tuning tips and articles

Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums


When you drive one you fully appreciate what it means to tame a supercar and flatter your driving style.

Following our tips for tuning your R8 you can create a car that is every bit as good as it's exotic Lamborghini stable mates!

The R8 v8 engine comes from the B7 RS4 but has seen extensive modifications internally to push power up to 414 bhp.

The electronics from engine management to suspension are out of this world and the car corners like it is on rails.

The steering feedback you get is very nicely weighted and the car communicates with the driver in an almost symbiotic manner.

As Audi now have released a v10 engine with more power all the V8 owners will be wanting to close the power gap and then add a little more.

This also means that many RS4 performance parts will happily sit on the V8 R8 engine.

Audi R8 V8 Tuning modifications.

When talking about the best best for your V8 4.2 FSI engine, we are going to mods that give the best power gain for you spend.

Altering your V8 4.2 FSI camshaft will make a dramatic difference to the engine power band. Choosing a higher performance camshaft profile raises the power band accordingly.

Fast road cams normally bump the bhp and torque throughout the rpm band, you could drop a little low down bhp but the higher rpm power will be lifted.

Competition cams, bump the higher rpm power band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

For a car used daily must carefully try to match your engines power to your driving style.

You will never have thought a Motorsport and race cam is a pleasure to live with when in heavy traffic because low end power will be very lumpy. Competition cams are designed for maximum power at the top end of the RPM range, a place that most daily commutes will not permit!

Some V8 4.2 FSI engines respond better to different camshaft durations so view each engine as unique.

The engine timing and fuel pump and injectors also will say much on the power gains you'll hit.

A longer valve duration can alter the power band and on most engines the exhaust and intake durations do not need to match, although most cams and tuners use matched pairs there are some advantages to extending the intake or exhaust durations.

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Best Engine Mods for your car

  1. Engine Tunes - engine tuning/remapping provides the most advantage in terms of cost savings,  aftermarket ECUs, and piggyback ECUs are all alternatives.
  2. Fast road cams are one of the most significant mechanical changes, but they must be installed by someone who knows what they're doing and they are not always easy to source but you might find a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft.
  3. Intake and Exhaust - Note that on their own these mods will NOT ADD POWER in most cases, but they can help enhance power after other mods by removing the restriction.
  4. Upgrades to turbochargers and superchargers - forced induction is the most efficient approach to increase air supply, allowing you to burn more fuel and make more power. It is one of the most costly upgrades but provides the best gains.
  5. Head work - The goals of porting and flowing the head are to get air flowing into the engine while removing flow restrictions and turbulence.

Typical stage 1 mods often include: drilled & smoothed airboxPanel air filters, Intake manifolds, Fast road camshaft, Sports exhaust header/manifold, Remaps/piggy back ECU.

Typical stage 2 mods often include: Sports catalyst & performance exhaust, Ported and polished head, fuel pump upgrades, Fast road cam, high flow fuel injectors, induction kit.

Typical stage 3 mods often include: Adding or Upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Engine balancing & blueprinting, Competition cam, Internal engine upgrades (head flowing porting/bigger valves), Crank and Piston upgrades to alter compression, Twin charging conversions.

The V8 4.2 FSI engine blocks respond well to upgrades and we note that there are quite a few choices of mods and tuning parts around.

ECU flashing will help release the full potential of all the mods you've fitted to your V8 4.2 FSI.

(In some cases, as the factory ECU is locked flashing is not an option, so an aftermarket ECU is the route to take, and many of these will outperform factory ECU's but make sure it has knock protection and that you get it setup properly.)

It will usually give you around 30% more power on turbocharged vehicles and 15% on NA (naturally aspirated) engines, but you mileage will vary depending on the mods you've done and the condition of your engine.

It is the main goal to any engine performance tuning job to feed more air into the V8 4.2 FSI engine

Plenum transmit the air during the suck phase from the intake filter and allow it to be fed into the engine cylinders with fuel for the squish phase.

Design and flow characteristics of the Plenum can make a large change to fuel atomisation and engine efficiency on the V8 4.2 FSI.

On popular production engines manifolds are ripe for motorsport parts, although a few manufacturers provide reasonably good headers.

Larger V8 4.2 FSI valves, doing a bit of 3 or 5 angle valve jobs and porting and head flowing will also raise torque, and significantly will afford you raising the torque increase on other upgrades.


Turbo upgrades

NA (naturally aspirated) engines need quite a lot of work when you add a turbo, so we have a separate guide to help you take into account the pros and cons of going this route on your 4.2 FSi engine.

The more air to get into an engine, the more fuel it can burn and uprating the induction with a turbocharger upgrade makes massive power gains.

When a car is fitted with a turbocharger upgrades are going to make more power and you'll see that turbocharged engines are made using more solid components.

There are reliable limits for every engine, with some being very over engineered and some only just able to handle stock power

Research these limits and install higher quality components to handle the power.

We see many guys spending a loads on turbocharger upgrade kits or supercharger kits on the V8 4.2 FSI only to see the engine go up in smoke on it's first outing after it's been finished.

Large turbos tend to suffer low end lag, and small turbos spool up really quickly but won't have the peak rpm bhp gains.

You'll commonly see there is a limit in the air flow sensor AFM/MAF on these engines when considerably more air is being drawn into the engine.

You'll see that 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor was restricting performance at a much lower level.

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large power gains, although more complex to get working. We have a twincharger power adding guide if you want to read more.


When you improve the performance you will need to ramp up to the fuel system.

More performance needs more fuel. We strongly recommend you to be generous with your flow rate on the injectors.

The accepted safe increase is to add 20% when specifying an injector, this allows for injector deterioration and allows a little spare capacity should the engine require more fuel.

Audi R8 V8 Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

The next area for modification is the intake and exhaust. With such a well designed airbox out there TorqueCars see no point in adding an induction kit.

Exhaust is largely a matter of your preferred noise as the standard exhaust does a good job. As we have already stated though you will benefit from different exhaust headers and this will increase the flow rate from the engine allowing it to breathe harder.

For the more adventurous you might consider a complete strip down and rebuild of the engine. As the R8 is still quite new we doubt many owners will be prepared to go this route though. Gas flowing the head will allow you to maximise your air/fuel charge. Leave this to a professional though with a proper flow bench and machine tools.

Bear in mind that Audi have already done a great job on the R8 head and the dry sump saves weight and space and allows this highly stressed engine to be lubricated.

Remaps offer great power gains and will tie in your other modifications. The largest power gains for NA (naturally aspirated) engines usually involve the addition of forced induction. We have yet to see a forced induction kit for the V8 but we are sure that some tuning house will come out with one and it will probably be supercharger based!

Turbos are harder to add than supercharger. Turbos give boost in exponential proportion to increasing engine speed and this can make mapping difficult. It is easier to map a supercharger because the boost is proportional to engine speed on a linear curve. Alternatively you could add water injection to control knock.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your v8 R8  please join us in our car forums where you can discuss R8 V8 options in more detail with our R8 V8 owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Audi tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

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