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The outrageous Abt XGT is an Audi R8 DTM racer for the road

The Audi R8 is not long for this world, with production of the current model due to finish by the end of 2023. No replacement for the flagship V10 coupe and roadster is planned.

Unofficially, German tuning company Abt is helping the ultimate Audi go out with an explosive bang. Don’t mistake the new XGT for merely an R8 with wild, motorsport-style aero. This is the real deal.

Abt has spent two years working out how to convert a GT2-specification Audi R8 – as used in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) racing series – into a road-legal supercar.

A true road racer

Abt XGT
Abt XGT

At the heart of the Abt XGT is Audi’s mid-mounted 5.2-litre V10 engine, producing 640hp and 405lb ft of torque. Lightweight construction and a rear-wheel-drive layout mean the car tips the scales at only 1,400kg. Depending on the downforce setting for its gigantic rear wing, it can reach a top speed of more than 190mph.

Several of Abt’s DTM drivers have been involved in developing and testing the XGT. Their conclusion: “The road handling, steering behaviour and acceleration cannot be compared with any road car”.

More than 40 new parts were developed by Abt specifically for the vehicle, including a modified air-con system, new instrument cluster and even central locking. Drivers will sit behind the same steering wheel as the racing version, while Abt has even submitted the XGT for crash testing.

‘The quintessence of our heritage’

Abt XGT
Abt XGT

Such attention to detail from Abt is expected, with the company’s racing team having claimed more than 250 podiums in DTM competition since 2000.

Managing director Hans-Jürgen Abt said the motivation for the ambitious project “was the challenge itself that spurred us on to develop this unique complete vehicle. The XGT is the quintessence of our heritage”.

Abt plans to produce 99 examples of the XGT, with all cars sold via the Scherer Sport dealership in Mainz, Germany. You can place an order now, although the cost of driving a DTM racer starts at €598,000 (£519,000). This includes VAT, but not options such as the retro Audi Sport livery pictured above.

John Redfern writes for Motoring Research