It was years in the making. It was Audi's unicorn, the "what if" car that many people wanted but never thought would actually happen. When it appeared, with an engine out of an RS4, a low, squinty face, and odd proportions, many questioned its validity as a supercar. Then they drove it and swiftly shut up.
Its quattro system, twinned with a V8 (in this case), is, frankly, awesome. It offers levels of grip than any idiot can exploit and not fall of the road in a big, embarrassing heap.
It's so poised, so eager to grip, and so keen to go to speeds that the cops turn green at the thought of, that I'm pretty sure it's the perfect idiot-proof car. Where a Porsche 911 will bite, the R8 will safely punt you around a corner.
The V8 is the one to go for, too. Its 430 horses are more than enough for, erm, brisk progress. It can go 0-62 mph in 4.6 seconds, and the R8 runs out of puff at 187 mph -- more than enough for even the most hardened habitual speeder. Aurally it's a major treat, too -- we loved the V8 rumble so much we use it on the XCAR sting (in case you were wondering).
Its looks polarize opinion. Some think its lines are too oddly proportioned, that its face doesn't look resolved, and that its bonnet isn't exciting enough. The people who think that are, to be blunt, wrong in the face. It's a beautiful thing to stand next to, to stare at, and to experience. Drive one down any street in the world and I dare you to find an upturned nose. All eyes will be on it, and they'll be creased with smiles.
Despite the fact that Audi had no supercar provenance, plenty of experience with fast cars meant that it made something devastatingly fast but still useable.
You can see out of it, there's room in its front boot for a bag (a small one, but a bag none the less), the interior is beautifully made and oddly spacious. It looks like a supercar, goes like one but is accessible and practical -- an alien word when talking high-performance metal. You'll certainly leave with a smile.
The R8 makes you feel like a superstar, whereas in reality you're not. You're simply riding in one.
|Torque||317 lb. ft.|
|0-62 mph||4.6 seconds|
|Top speed||187 mph|