The original Audi R8 arrived in 2009 aimed at taking the Porsche 911 C4S head on as the best every day supercar that money can buy. Many scoffed at the idea that a company that at the time were more famous for their current line up of diesel saloons than producing a 911 rival, were attempting to sell a car considered as a supercar, especially with a price tag of over £100k. But how wrong could they have been. The R8 quickly became a by-word for supercar pace, every day usability and not only stunning good looks but also one of the finest quality interiors money can buy.
Fast forward over a decade and in its current iteration the Audi R8 is a highly respected performance car, that not only broke the mould when it arrived out of the blue, but still remains a had turner when you see one on the street. The latest version has undergone a midlife facelift to make those stunning good looks even more appealing and the R8 now looks a sharper and more focused car. With more fins on the front bumper, a triple (yet false) vent at the tip of the bonnet inspired by the Group B Audi Sport quattro rally monster, and a rear grille almost the full width of the car, the R8 updates ensure the car remains as good looking as ever.
Achingly good looks, however, are something that surely all supercars should have in abundance, but the R8 is much more than that. Under the glass rear engine cover lies the real party piece of this car, the naturally aspirated 5.2 litre V10 engine. Now producing 612 bhp in the Performance model the latest top of the range R8 is quoted by Audi as having a top speed of 205mph and capable of accelerating from 0-62mph in just 3.1 seconds, however many road testers agree that the latter is a somewhat conservative claim. In an age when hybrid assistance and turbocharging appear on nearly all performance cars, this may just be regarded as one of the last great naturally aspirated engines.
Accelerate hard in the R8 and you’ll instantly be reminded of what an engine should sound like, no turbo intake noises, no electric whining, just 10 cylinders in a V producing one of the most addictive noises to any car enthusiast. Not that you get to enjoy it for long, the speed at which the R8 Performance accelerates means that the thrill doesn’t last before you’re reaching law breaking speeds. The enormous oval twin exhausts might no longer be able to be replaced by the RS Sports exhaust system thanks to EU noise limits, hence the removal of the exhaust button to the steering wheel, but it still features opening valves to ensure it is quieter in town at slow speeds and can wake up sleepy villages when you’re enjoying a spirited country drive. Thanks to those EU rules, electrification and noise limits, we might have to enjoy those sounds while we still can.
The penchant of the R8 has always been the ease at which it can be driven, in any conditions and at any speed. Four wheel drive assistance using Audi’s famed Quattro system means the car always feels sure footed and planted on the road. The interior may feel like a larger version of that found in the TT, but as that is widely considered one of the best quality car interiors of them all, that is no bad thing. Besides, it also means that the controls and technology work as they should every time and all through the exceptional Audi Virtual Cockpit. The levels of comfort, refinement and ease of driving really do give you the impression you are in a well equipped sports or GT car, right up until the moment you plant your foot on the accelerator and unleash that V10 engine again.
Our 2019 Audi R8 5.2 V10 Performance is the flagship Carbon Black edition with the Carbon Exterior styling pack, Carbon fibre side blades, carbon fibre engine bay and carbon fibre fixed rear wing as standard. It also comes with 20” Dynamic Design diamond cut wheels, Extended Black styling pack to badges, Audi Magentic Ride with CFRP anti-roll bar and Red anodized arms, and matching Red brake calipers for the ceramic brakes. This exceptional car is finished in Suzuka Grey metallic with full Black fine perforated Nappa leather interior and contrasting Rock Grey stitching. The car has covered just 9,800 miles and comes with the remainder of an Audi manufacturer warranty until July 2022.
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