It’s the newest version of one of our favourite supercars, the Audi R8, and it ticks all of the right boxes: evocative styling, neck-snapping acceleration and boasts one of the greatest engines you can buy – Audi’s magical 5.2-litre V10. It’s mounted just behind the driver’s left shoulder and with the throttle buried in the carpet, delivers a howling exhaust note that sounds like an opera from the gods.
This new R8 is lighter and stiffer than before and is also one of the friendliest and most enjoyable supercars to drive quickly.
- Did we mention that engine? The big naturally aspirated V10 dominates the entire driving experience and isn’t only rapidly fast and responsive, but sounds phenomenal. Audi offers the R8 in two different outputs: the 397kW/540Nm V10, or the angrier, and faster, 449kW/560Nm V10 Plus. Go for the Plus, we say, it’s worth the extra cash.
- It’s a doddle to drive quickly. The R8 boasts the latest version of Audi’s famous quattro four-wheel drive system, and its handling is agile, sure-footed and predictable. That might sound boring, but the R8 manages to be effective and exciting all at once.
- The cabin is a triumph too. It’s beautifully made, as you’d expect from an Audi, but it’s also comfortable and laden with new technology, like Audi’s virtual cockpit instrument cluster, that can be configured to the driver’s liking.
- The new R8’s exterior styling might be a little too evolutionary for some.
- And while there’s no faulting the interior’s quality or richness, some might think its driver-focused design is too restrained, especially when compared to the over-the-top, hexagon-infused cabin you get in the Lamborghini Huracan.
- The biggest disappointment, though, and we’re getting nitpicky here, goes to the gearshift paddles mounted on the steering. Unlike rivals that use large pieces of beautifully hewn aluminium, the R8’s shift paddles are plastic and feel cheap.
- It’s not what you’d call cheap either. A price tag of $345,900 for the standard V10 and $389,900 for the V10 Plus means the R8 is out of reach for most of us.
ANY RIVALS I SHOULD CONSIDER?
If showing off is your thing, then the Lamborghini Huracan might be more your style. It has the same V10 engine as the R8, but flaunts even crazier, “look at me!” styling inside and out. Porsche’s brutally fast 911 Turbo S is also a worthy rival, as is the McLaren 570S and Ferrari 488.