Audi R8 Coupe review
Mighty engine lifts awesome rear engined R8 to supercar status
It doesn’t get much better than this. Nobody could fail to spot one of these in the rear-view mirror – and the exhaust note as it goes past is sublime. The aluminium-bodied R8 sits firmly planted to the tarmac and is every inch a supercar from all angles. A see-through section over the mid-mounted engine is the cherry on the cake.
The only thing we could fault in the cabin was the position of the two cupholders. Put anything in them, and the driver’s left arm has nowhere to go. That’s such a small detail in a two-seater that’s been superlatively constructed. Even the safety belt is presented to the driver, so you don’t have to stretch over your right shoulder. And there’s room for two sets of golf clubs behind the seats.
With a mighty 518bhp being produced by the high-revving 5.2-litre powerplant, the real shock is that you don’t feel the car is about to be ripped out of your hands when you press the accelerator. Top speed is 197mph, and 0-60mph comes and goes in only 3.9 seconds. Combined fuel returns vary from 19.2-20.6mpg.
There are two quattro variants - a six-speed manual and an R tronic. Due to the dual-clutch set-up, the latter offers instant responses with the paddle shifters, and only the slightest pause in full auto mode. In Sport mode, the magnetic suspension stiffens the ride and you can feel the car gearing up to reveal its full potential. Without that extra, the R8 is smooth, responsive and deceptively easy to drive.
When you’re spending 100 grand on a car, it’s feasible that ownership costs won’t really be a deal breaker. Scan the options list, and you could end up spending much more. The carbon fibre side blade on the model we drove pushed up the £103,645 base price by £1,470. The carbon engine cover added £2,270 and matching inlays were a further £1,615. Relatively few numbers are being made, so exclusivity is bound to keep residual values buoyant at a predicted 40 per cent.
The R8 has yet to be crash tested, however recent Audis have scored the maximum five stars, and this one is crammed full of airbags. There is built-in side-impact protection, and Audi’s Headguard support system minimises whiplash injuries. Standard spec includes anti-lock brakes, electronic differential lock, anti-slip regulation, LED headlamps, daytime running and brake lights. Options include ceramic stoppers. At 351g/km, the CO2 output is a consideration. That’s for the manual – the R tronic’s figure is a slightly better 327g/km.