The Audi R8 has returned and is as spectacular as ever, as Danny Cobbs finds out…
The original R8 of 2006 was a defining car for Audi; proof that a mainstream car manufacturer could actually build a supercar which could rival the world’s best. Now there’s a new R8, although, much like any other Audi model you care to mention, on first appearance it does seem like its predecessor (merely an observation rather than a complaint).
And, as before, this R8 receives a 5.2-litre naturally aspirated V10 engine which remains firmly planted in the middle of the car for optimum weight distribution. As standard, this engine produces a whopping 532bhp.
Opt for the R8 Plus – as in, plus an extra 70bhp – and there’s 602bhp to quicken the heart. However, it does come with a six-figure price tag.
This latest version also adopts Audi’s virtual cockpit display which places the infotainment screen within the instruments cluster. It may sound complicated yet it’s really easy to use and the 3D graphics are nothing short of spectacular.
Underneath this R8’s not so-unfamiliar bodywork sits a new platform. And, just like its engine and all-wheel drive system, it too is shared with the Lamborghini Huracan. What this means, in its simplest term, is the R8 covers ground like a low flying missile.
A seven-speed dual clutch auto gearbox comes as standard and changes gears so quickly and crisply you never miss having a manual transmission. The engine is a masterpiece, pulling revs all the way past 8000rpm. And it sounds fantastic, too. It’s proper spine-tingling stuff and gives the R8 a true supercar feeling with performance to match.
The Plus model goes from a standing start to 62mph in 3.2seconds and tops out at 205mph. With so much grip and traction on offer it can safely go way beyond the talents of most drivers without ever reaching its full potential. The steering is perhaps a touch light, yet it’s so predictable and quick it makes the R8 a really easy everyday drive. It really is a class act.
Whether you’re using it for your daily drive or just for a weekend blast, this R8 is a car which will defiantly put a smile on your face.
Fuel economy isn’t exactly thrifty. The official test figures say it will consume 23mpg, let alone the 16.5mpg I got on my test drive. Ultimately though, you don’t buy this type of car because it’s frugal and cheap to run.
You buy it because it’s sexy and fast and exciting and makes you feel very special every time you drive it. And in that sense, Audi have smashed it right out of the park.
Price: £119,500 (V10); £134,500. (V10 Plus)
Engine: 5.2-litre V10
Transmission: Seven-speed S tronic auto, four-wheel drive
0-62mph: 3.2 seconds
Top speed: 205mph
On sale: Now