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In-depth reviews

Audi R8 review - Reliability and Safety

The R8 is a development of its predecessor, while a raft of electronics helps to raise safety levels

Audi is famed for the quality and reliability of its components, and as the second-generation R8 is a development of the original, it should be a good performer. With its hand-crafted production process and hefty price, we expect the R8 will deliver a blemish-free ownership experience.

The engine, for example, is a development of the old 5.2-litre V10, and is also used in the Lamborghini Huracan. It’s a similar story with the twin-clutch S tronic gearbox, which feels bulletproof even after several full-bore applications of the launch control back to back.

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However, Audi finished a disappointing 21st out of 30 manufacturers in the 2020 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, which is actually a drop from the middling 16th position it achieved in 2019.

In terms of safety, the R8 hasn't been Euro NCAP tested – and is unlikely ever to be – but its aluminium and carbon-fibre hybrid platform is stronger than ever, meaning it’s 50kg lighter and 40 per cent stiffer than the first generation. There are four airbags, multi-stage stability control and carbon-ceramic brakes (an option on the R8, standard on the R8 Performance), but there’s no option to add hi-tech features such as autonomous emergency braking or blind-spot monitoring.

Performance mode is activated via a button on the steering wheel and has three sub-modes – dry, wet and snow. By loosening the ESC’s grip and managing all other driving parameters it extracts the maximum performance, while keeping the car pointing in the right direction.

LED headlights are standard, but among the options are laser lights, with the ability to light the road up to 600m ahead of the car. A camera-based sensor system ensures the lights are dipped when another car is approaching, to avoid dazzling them.

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Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    5.2 FSI [540] V10 2dr S Tronic RWD
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £113,000

Most Economical

  • Name
    5.2 FSI [540] V10 2dr S Tronic RWD
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £113,000

Fastest

  • Name
    5.2 FSI V10 Quattro Performance 2dr S Tronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £139,805
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