The engineers walking around Detroit Motor Show with the smug satisfied grins on their faces will be the Audi ones. For starters, Audi had a record year last year; they were actually selling cars as opposed to 'resting' them for months on end in dealers' yards.
Secondly, those same engineers have now managed to stuff a monstrous new 5.2 litre V10 into the R8. That sort of thing appeals to engineers - it's fun. Hours of endless fun in fact. And my gosh, does it haul: 0-100km/h in 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 316 km/h. Yup, that would put a grin on anyone's face.
Audi claims the naturally aspirated R8 V10 is the result of "cumulative know-how from Audi's string of Le Mans victories". Certainly, with 386kW, 530Nm of torque, dry sump lubrication, quattro all-wheel drive and lightweight aluminum body, the R8 V10 is laden with race-bred technology and race-cred numbers .
The departure from Audi's Le Mans warriors is that the R8 V10 is not a diesel, but a petrol engine with direct injection technology. This engine is destined for the racetracks of Europe in a new R8 race car being developed by Audi to comply with GT3 rules.
The very good news though for cashed-up driving enthusiasts is that the V10 engine "in the production sports car will be almost identical in construction to the one in the racing version" - so Audi assures us.
With a power output of 100.9 horsepower per litre of displacement , each 'horse' has to propel only 3.09 kilograms of weight. That's the kind of power-to-weight ratio that has bears dropping from the trees.
Quattro all-wheel drive underneath, the R8 V10 can be had with a six-speed manual or the sequentially shifting R-tronic box, the latter snapping between cogs in just one-tenth of a second. For seriously quick get-aways (for those times when you're trapped between the TMR team and an unguarded hamburger), the R8 V10 comes with driver-actuated launch control - press the button, mash the pedal and you're out of there.
With a mid-engine design - the engine slung low thanks to its dry-sump lubrication - and a 44 to 56 percent axle load distribution, Audi claims the R8 V10 "responds to any steering action with instant ease, (achieving) lateral acceleration of up to 1.2 g".
If there is any doubt about the serious road/track intent of the R8 V10, take a second to peruse the following high-end handling bits: dual aluminum wishbones front and rear, 19-inch 10-spoke wheels (equipped with tyre pressure monitoring display), high-end damper technology with 'magnetic' adaptive shock absorbers (that adapt the suspension characterists to what's happening between the wheels and the road), eye-popping eight-piston front brakes on 380mm discs and four-piston rears on 356mm discs. It can also be ordered, at a premium, with a ceramic brake system "containing high-strength carbon fibre and abrasion-resistant silicon carbide".
You know what it looks like. There are a few minor revisions for the R8 V10 over the standard R8 such as the all-LED headlights, deeper 'sideblades' with wider side sills and larger rear window. Not a lot to comment on there: some like it, some love it, some are not so sure.
One suspects though that any argument ceases the moment the V10 fires into life. That's when the talking stops; and that's why Audi engineers are walking around with silly grins on their faces, all over Detroit. (And I want one.)