Audi R8

The Audi's V8 engine is one of the very best performance engines around and the car is a gem to drive

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4.0 out of 5

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Do you believe the R8 is a triumph of style over substance? Then think again. Audi's flagship supercar is a gem to drive. Its V8 is one of the very best performance engines around, and with its low centre of gravity, aluminium construction and quattro drivetrain, the R8 is amazingly agile in the corners. Our only hesitation is with the R Tronic gearbox. It's expensive and less involving - we'd stick with the standard manual.

There's no doubt about it, Audi's star is rising. The firm's sales have doubled in recent years, thanks to a range that's grown from 10 to 25 models in a decade. But the one thing the marque hasn't had is a range-topping halo car - until now.

The R8 fills that role perfectly. It looks stunning, is hugely desirable and Audi claims it's the fastest and most powerful car in its class. Plus, it will have the best residuals, too, when deliveries start in July.

It certainly has a specification to match the jaw-dropping looks. The mid-engined, four-wheel-drive supercar uses Audi's Aluminium Space Frame (ASF) construction, powered by the mighty 4.2-litre V8 from the RS4. The 414bhp unit is mated to either a six-speed manual or the R Tronic sequential paddleshift box tried here. This is expected to be specified by around half of UK buyers, and while it lowers CO2 emissions, it raises the cost by £5,200.

The rumbling V8 packs a massive punch, the cockpit is suitably low-slung with dramatic design cues, while the attention to detail and build quality is unbeatable.

Then there's the driving experience. The mid-engine layout means superb weight distribution, while four-wheel drive maximises traction, so the R8 a very rapid machine.

But it's the manner in which it covers the ground that's so impressive. Although the Audi isn't quite as involving as a Porsche 911, the Magnetic Ride dampers (a £1,350 option) deliver a beautifully composed ride, and the steering is extremely accurate. We can think of few more desirable cars.

Download R8 wallpaper on the links below:

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