Audi R8

Supercars are generally defined by their engines and the Audi R8 is no different. The 5.2L V10 engine has been given some upgrades for the 2017 model year and the result is 540 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque. It's a combination that is good for a top speed of 199 mph. For those that absolutely must have a car capable of 200 mph, the V10 Plus model features a 610 hp version of the V10. Top speed is rated at 205 mph for the Plus model. All-wheel drive is standard across the entire lineup as is a 7-speed S-tronic gearbox. Audi estimates that the base version will hit 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, or 3.2 seconds for the Plus version.

Keeping things in control are magnetic shock absorbers, which use magnets suspended in fluid to instantly adjust suspension firmness on the fly. Bumps can thusly be dealt with as they are encountered, with the kind of speed that would've been impossible several years ago. Magnetic shocks also allow the R8 to be driven in one of four different modes, comfort, auto, dynamic and individual, meaning that the right setting for the conditions and for the driver's mood can always be found.

The Audi R8 is a sports car first and foremost, but that doesn't mean that it's an awful place to be, in fact it actually makes for quite a comfortable long distance cruiser. Standard features include Audi's AudiConnect infotainment system, a 550 Watt Bang & Olufsen Sound system, a multifunction steering wheel, heated, 18-way power adjustable sports seats, an Alcantara headliner, leather seating and automatic climate control. Standard exterior features include 19-inch wheels, LED headlights, taillights and daytime running lights, power folding exterior mirrors and a parking assist system with a rearview camera.

The V10 Plus is of course slightly more performance oriented, so it actually sacrifices the stereo in favor of a lighter 5-speaker system and adds carbon fiber seats and door sills for less weight and by extension, more speed. The V10 Plus also gets a special "performance mode" which will adjust the traction control and stability control to aid the driver during high speed driving around a race track.

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There are some sounds that are becoming rare in our modern world. Chief among them? The roar of a naturally aspirated V10. Yet that's exactly the sound you hear when you fire up the brand-new 2020 Audi R8 -- in this case, the V10 Performance model.

In practice, this new R8 only offers modest changes. The 5.2-liter V10 now delivers 562 horsepower in base spec -- 30 more than before -- thanks to a new titanium valvetrain. The V10 Performance, previously known as V10 Plus, keeps the same 602 horsepower as before. The standard coupe will run to 60 miles per hour in 3.4 seconds, while the Performance will do the same spring in 3.2.

The front antiroll bar is now available in carbon and aluminum instead of steel, which saves 4.5 pounds over the outgoing car. The 2020 R8 gets an improved suspension setup, and while I'm told the dynamic steering option has been improved, my test car has the standard fitment.

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