The second-generation Audi R8 is about to be facelifted, as spy photographs begin to surface for the first time. Audi’s halo car first made its global debut back in 2015, making the timeline ripe for a mid-life refresh.

Due to debut in 2019 or 2020, the updated R8 will get the usual nip and tuck revisions, such as redesigned front and rear bumpers. Although heavily masked, the new front fascia is still visibly distinguishable, revealing a completely redesigned front bumper and a bolder hexagonal ‘Singleframe’ grille with thicker surrounds.

The grille inserts also feature a new mesh-type design, bringing it closer to the new A6, A7 and A8 in terms of looks. The vertical slats beneath the headlights are also gone, replaced by the same mesh-type look as the grille insert.

Round the back, the changes become even more apparent. The rear bumper is completely new, and the air vents that help regulate engine temperature are now conjoined, presumably for better cooling performance. Below that rest two huge oval exhaust pipes, a departure from the hexagonal units from before.

If you think the headlights and tail lights look exactly the same as before, then you’re right on the money. This prototype is still in the testing phase, so expect the actual production model to wear restyled units for the front and back.

Performance-wise, the updated R8 is rumoured to carry several new engines apart from the sole naturally-aspirated V10, but this has yet to be confirmed since the R8’s technical project leader, Markus Haverkamp (pictured below) told us that “there’s absolutely no plans for a lesser engine to be fitted” in the R8.

Currently, the top-of-the-line R8 V10 plus cranks out 610 PS and 560 Nm of torque, propelling it from 0-100 km/h in 3.2 seconds and onwards to a top speed of 330 km/h. “The naturally-aspirated 5.2 litre V10 engine is here to stay in the foreseeable future,” said Haverkamp.

Could it be electrified? Maybe, but weight remains a concern. “The Audi R8 as it is, is lightweight and fast. But a high-performance hybrid R8 would necessitate a larger battery which weighs a lot, and that is contrary to having fast lap times,” said Haverkamp.

The Audi R8 is currently being built at the company’s Neckarsulm facility and is available in two flavours – V10 and V10 Plus. Back at home, the Audi R8 isn’t officially on sale yet, but the V10 Spyder made a brief appearance last year at the Audi Malaysia quattro cup.