Review: Audi R8

04 Aug 15 Tim Barnes-Clay

Speed, handling and a work of automotive art thanks to a recent facelift.

Red Audi R8

The Audi R8 is the emperor of the German car brand's line‐up and stirs up a heady soup of emotions when you slip behind the wheel.

Not only does the dazzling supercar look good enough to eat, it almost flirts with you, tempting you to throw away your worries and immerse yourself in its company.

Flushed cheeks, a racing heart and clammy hands are all the sensations you'll experience when you first start up the Audi R8.

And inside your body there'll be changes that signal Cupid has fired his arrow.

Audi R8 Coupé is 'a true beauty'

The R8, especially in V10 guise as tested here with a Lamborghini-derived 5.2-litre engine, will get your dopamine and serotonin chemicals bubbling.

Yes, what I'm saying is that you'll fall in love, or certainly lust, with the two-door coupé.

It's a true beauty - a work of automotive art that has become even more stunning to look at, let alone drive.

Aesthetically, the R8 now comes with light-emitting diode (LED) headlights and a single-frame grille.

A redesigned diffuser and huge, round tailpipes are the most eye‐catching new features.

The rear lights include dynamic indicators, a global first from Audi. Produced by LEDs, the turn signal runs from the inside out in the direction in which you want to go.

Speed & 'power plant' engine

On the road, the R8 V10 completes the zero to 62mph sprint in 3.6 seconds and has an autobahn-focused top speed of 195mph.

The R8's engine is a Goliath of a power plant. It churns out a whopping 390.91 lb‐ft of torque, which gets you to the speed you want quickly and it's huge 518 brake horsepower keeps you there.

The seven‐speed S tronic gearbox, which replaces the R tronic used previously, is standard in all V10 models.

The fast shifting dual‐clutch transmission features an ingenious launch control function that provides the best possible traction when the car flexes its muscles and takes off.

Audi R8 cabin interior

Seductive sound

The might of the engine's output momentarily thumps you back into your seat when the clout of the Audi R8 is unleashed via the Quattro permanent all‐wheel drive system.

And the sound of the car is almost as seductive as its looks - even at moderate speed there's a deep, multi-layered, glorious rumble.

But hit the R8's 'Sport' button and you get a gratifying crackling and popping on the downshifts.

The snarl is animalistic, and deeply nourishing for any petrolhead's ears.

Sophisticated interior

Inside, the high‐performance sports car is now even more sophisticated.

You and your passenger sit in bucket seats with folding backrests, and the seat covers and inserts in the door liners are quilted.

Getting comfortable behind the wheel is easy and it's surprisingly straightforward to drive.

That said, the grunting, visceral tone emitting from the power train assembled behind the two front seats keeps you respectful of the Audi's capabilities at all times.

Audi R8 Coupé: Delivers on handling

A car's ability to accelerate quickly and reach a blistering top speed is, naturally, desirable.

However, it's the handling dynamics, and talent to drive rapidly through the bends, that make for a spine-tingling driving experience. And that's where the R8 V10 delivers.

The Audi will turn your grey matter to jelly on the straights and it'll make your liver quiver on B roads.

But what it does best is go around corners quickly with the utmost stability and that, of course, is what every car enthusiast wants.

Pros & cons

  • Power ✔
  • Looks ✔
  • Sound ✔
  • Handling ✔
  • Licence loser X

Fast facts

  • Max speed: 195 mph
  • 0-62 mph: 3.6 secs
  • Combined mpg: 21.6
  • Engine: 5204cc, 10 cylinder, 40 valve petrol
  • Max. power (bhp): 518
  • Max. torque (lb.ft): 390
  • CO2: 305 g/km 
  • Price: £117,710 on the road