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Behind the wheel of the poor man's Lamborghini

2008 Audi R8 has good guts

Candace Lombardi/CNET Networks

If you thought the pictures of the 2008 Audi R8 making the rounds were gorgeous, wait until you see it in person...and from the inside. I had the pleasure at the New York International Auto Show on Wednesday.

The sports-car public has been lusting after a mid-engine, high-horsepower model since Mercedes debuted its C111 in 1970. But unless you count the (which I don't because it was about $500,000) there has been nothing available in the "reasonable" price range.

Nearly four decades later, Mercedes' German brethren finally deliver.

Remember the old SNL skit where Tom Hanks (think Borat) touted brandless electronics that he swore had "Sony guts! Sony guts!" inside of them?

Audi is offering the 2008 Audi R8 for the mere price of $100,000 depending on options, and the car, metaphorically speaking, has Sony guts.

Audi has made the most of its Lamborghini ownership and pulled parts and resources from the Gallardo's book of tricks. Typical of Audi, the car also has an all-wheel drive drivetrain, or a "quattro" as Audi calls it.

Candace Lombardi/CNET Networks

Consider yourself a real enthusiast? Order it with the 6-speed manual transmission.

You're OK with a stick but hate the hassle of it when city driving? Opt for the paddle shifter R tronic automatic gearbox. This is a manual-type transmission, but with no clutch pedal. You just push a lever on the steering to upshift or downshift. It's much easier on your calves when in traffic, especially if you wear heels. Of course, this model will start at about $118,000.

Candace Lombardi/CNET Networks