Audi R8 Review (2013)
Yet the new R8 is actually more economical to run and boasts reduced carbon emissions compared to its predecessor...6 December 2013
The Audi name is synonymous with premium quality. It is a company that prides itself on producing cars with all the technology and driving dynamics you could wish for. So when the flagship supercar model is given a facelift with improved performance capabilities, it is certainly something to shout about.
The new R8 Coupe is lighter, faster, more economical and bursting with technology to be explored at your peril!
Every single detail of the R8’s exterior makes a statement and marks it out as a sports car of the highest pedigree. For example the air intakes, sweeping side-blades and retractable spoiler look the part, but they also have a valuable purpose whether it’s cooling the mighty 5.2-litre engine that sits directly behind the cockpit or perfecting the car’s aerodynamics.
The interior has more than a hint of racing car inspiration with its rigid yet lightweight frame, driver-orientated instrument clusters, fine leather sports seats and flat-bottomed steering wheel.
There is a new seven-speed S tronic transmission system (replacing the outgoing R tronic) that has shaved 0.3 seconds of the standard sprinting time and when the car achieves this in sub four second times that is quite an achievement.
Yet the new R8 is actually more economical to run and boasts reduced carbon emissions compared to its predecessor.
Another striking new feature on the R8 can be seen clearly from the rear – which is the view most other drivers will have of the car. It is the dynamic turning lights – a world first from Audi. Using LED lights, the indicator or turn signal runs from inside to out in the direction that the driver wants to turn.
The R8 line-up comprises two body styles – coupe and Spyder, along with three engines.
Open-top Spyder models range from £99,650 to £123,650, whereas the Coupe line-up starts from £91,000 for the 4.2 FSI Quattro.
The undisputed king of the coupe range is the mighty V10 Plus with its 5.2-litre engine and a price-tag of £127,000, so that was the model that was taken on a test run along previously quiet country lanes.
The R8 boasted a 5.2-litre petrol engine delivering 550PS and 540Nm of torque. It is blisteringly quick and takes just 3.5 seconds to reach 62mph from a standing start and tops out at 197mph.
It uses FSI direct engine technology which was originally developed for the Le Mans 24-hour endurance race to deliver improved power and torque while maximising fuel efficiency. That said, the combined fuel economy of the test car was 21.9mpg which will mean regular trips to the pumps.
But never forget this is a supercar and factors such as mpg tend to get overshadowed by power, handing and dynamics, where the car truly excels.
The fast-shifting dual-clutch transmission features a launch control that manages the engine speed and provides just the right amount of tyre slip for the fastest possible take off when accelerating. Power is delivered to the road via the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system with rear axle bias.
The R8 V10 Plus is incredibly loud and even the slightest pressure on the accelerator results in a roar that would drown out a feeding frenzy at a lions enclosure.