Dramatic styling, easy to drive, intoxicating soundtrack, solid build
Small luggage space, poor rear visibility
The Audi R8 is one of the most recognisable and desirable cars on the roads. It may not have the badge or heritage of a Lamborghini or Ferrari, but it's stunning looks and sheer pace have created huge interest. The company has an impressive record in motorsport, with recent victories in Le Mans, firstly with its R8 and more recently with the R10 TDI.
The R8 production car shares its name with the successful race car but there aren't that many similarities. However, it echoes other supercars with its mid-engine layout and four-wheel-drive while power comes courtesy of a wonderful 4.2 FSI V8 engine. Exhilarating to drive and dramatically styled it's a very special car that will turn heads wherever you go.
In 2009 an even more powerful 5.2-litre V10-Plus model was introduced with 518bhp and a 0-62mph time of less than four seconds. In 2012 Audi gave the R8 a midlife refresh and all models became available with the new S tronic seven speed dual-clutch transmission, replacing the R tronic semi-automatic transmission. This new unit was shorter, lighter and it meant the R8 is able to go faster in a straight line.
With this the V10 is able to get from 0-62mph in 3.6s – 0.3s faster than the V10 with the R tronic transmission. The V10 Plus Coupe also received a power hike to take it up to 542bhp. More colour options were added as well as a quilted seat option. In terms of design little changed, with a revised front bumper and new LED front and rear lights. There was also the addition of a rather fancy ‘sweeping’ rear indicator light arrangement that pulses from side to side.
The midlife refresh also included more kit, most notable is that sat nav became standard on all models. For more, read the full Audi R8 review that follows.