2010 Audi R8
Supercars are famous for being a lot like exotic snakes – if you’ve got enough cash you can own one, but you do so at your own risk. In either case, if you lose control for just a split second, you are going to get bit; though unfortunately no anti-venom in the world can quell the humiliation and financial ruin of a totaled supercar. Or at least that’s how it used to be, until the advent of the Audi R8
. Named after Audi’s five-time Le Mans winning prototype, the R8 may go down as the world’s first truly forgiving supercar. Its mid-engine balance and Quattro all-wheel drive make the relentlessly fast and immensely capable R8 astonishingly easy to drive at speed. And now they've gone and wedged a V-10 in it. Don't get us wrong, the standard V-8 R8 was no slouch, but it hung out more in the Porsche 911 circle than it did with the supercar crowd. But now that it boasts 525 horsepower and a robustly exotic V-10 soundtrack, it has true supercar credentials. Inside, drivers enjoy typically stellar Audi build quality, not to mention the sound of that mid-mounted engine cranking away. Certainly people will find a way to wreck even this most tolerant of land rockets, but with such impeccable balance, grip and agility, they’re going to have to kick this snake pretty hard before it bites back.
2010 Audi R8 5.2 FSI
2010 Audi R8 5.2 FSI
2010 Audi R8 5.2 FSI
What's to Like
This car doesn’t go unnoticed – it’s pretty much like driving around in the Millennium Falcon, though a Chewbacca-esque presence is purely contingent on who you choose as your passenger. Rampant acceleration, insane grip and controlled poise are coupled with a comfortable cabin to create a truly usable performance machine. Plus, have you ever been from 0-60 in under 4 seconds?
What's Not to Like
The price of exclusivity is high, and the R8 is no exception – expect big, big car payments. Cargo space is there, but in no way is it overwhelming. The R tronic automatic sequential transmission can be somewhat bothersome on hills, as it engages the clutch much like traditional manual transmission and is therefore prone to stalls, or at the very least, doesn’t seem completely controllable.
DriverSide Driving Impressions
Driving the R8 is about as blissful as it gets. Audi’s high-revving 5.2-liter V-10 – quite similar to the engine found in the Lamborghini Gallardo – provides astonishing thrust, especially once it hits its stride above 5,000 rpm. Like a good pair of running shoes, the R8’s helm keeps you well informed of what’s happening on the asphalt. The impeccable balance provided by the engine’s placement amidships allows the R8 to change direction with remarkable speed and composure. Quattro all-wheel drive provides prodigious grip, constantly taunting you to try and push the car beyond its limits. Rest assured that if you do – and it takes a lot of effort to do so – the Quattro system will gather things up quickly and without incident.
Engine and Drivetrain
With an 8,700 rpm redline, Audi's 5.2-liter V-10 likes to be revved into the stratosphere, producing 525 horsepower at 8,000 rpm and 391 lb-ft of torque at a lofty 6,500 rpm. Power is driven to all-four wheels, with torque biased rearward at a split of 15/85 and both a six-speed manual gearbox and six-speed automatic sequential are available.
Interesting Vehicle Features and Options
Being a flagship model, the R8 comes light on options. Those looking for an automatic gearbox may be somewhat shocked to find out the R tronic sequential will set them back $9,100, though we do have to say the paddle-activated, rev-matched downshifts rank pretty high on the awesomeness-to-price scale. Other options include a premium package, various leather upholstery packages, navigation, alcantara headliner and alternate ‘sideblade’ colors.
Key Technology Evaluation
As you’d probably have guessed looking at it, the R8 isn’t a vehicle that skimps on technological flair. Audi’s magnetic ride suspension works much like Ferrari’s Manettino system and has the ability to stiffen the suspension at the push of a button by altering the stiffness of the shocks via magnetic charge. The system varies the damping of the suspension through turns, working to eliminate body roll and dive under braking. Fullly LED headlamps with Audi's now iconic surrounds show off the R8’s futuristic predisposition outside, as does the LED-lit engine compartment.
Green Evaluation/Gas Mileage
With its 8,700 rpm V-10 powerplant, the R8 5.2 FSI is pretty much the genetic opposite of a Toyota Prius
. Its fuel economy returns certainly fit the supercar bill, with the manual R8 achieving 12 mpg city and 20 mpg highway, and the automatic coming in at a slightly better 13 mpg city and 20 mpg highway. Strangely enough, that's right in line with the V-8 model.
A Closer Look: Vehicle Details
While the interior of the R8 is simple, it maintains the air of refinement Audi is famous for crafting. The roofline is actually relatively high so the cabin isn’t claustrophobic, and the tools of the road – steering wheel, gauges and gear lever – dominate the driver’s view. The seats are very comfortable and well bolstered, making long stints behind the wheel enjoyably painless.
One look at the R8 is all it takes. Its completely 21st century design will have passersby gawking wherever you drive. The carbon fiber ‘sideblades’ are particularly distinct when speced as a different color than the body. Other drivers constantly fixate on the R8’s unorthodox shape as you pass by them. Freeway stalkers are a common occurrence, and don’t be surprised if you’re pulled over for doing the speed limit; the cop just wants to get a better look at the car.
What We Think
The Audi R8 has certainly raised the bar for carmakers the world over. Its driving precision dissects the road with the aptitude of a scalpel in the hands of a skilled surgeon, making the driving dynamics of lesser sportscars feel like trying to perform an operation with a filet knife. The fact that Audi has managed to create such a usable, forgiving mid-engine supercar on its first try is immensely impressive. Like its Le Mans predecessor, the Audi R8 is, without a doubt, a legend in the making.