Although it was firmly established in the upper echelons of European car manufacturers by the time the Audi R8 arrived in 2007, this low-slung sports car was still such a departure from Audi’s usual fare that it came as something as a surprise. It was a “spaceship” landing in the brand's lineup, in Audi’s own words.
Over a decade on, the R8 has demonstrated its sticking power and the latest version is a formidable rival to the Porsche 911, McLaren 570S and Mercedes-AMG GT, while serving as indisputable flagship of Audi’s luxury lineup.
Launched as a serious sports car, with a V8 engine and manual gearbox, the R8 has matured into a genuine supercar. There’s a vast 5.2-litre V10 engine in the middle, sending its power to all four wheels via a paddle-operated dual-clutch automatic gearbox. You get a bare minimum of 562bhp, but opting for the R8 Performance nets you a huge 611bhp. Fuel-saving cylinder deactivation technology might help you assuage the guilt of running such an indulgent car, and its high-tech interior adds to the sense of occasion when you’re behind the wheel.
Despite its searing performance, the R8 is a car you can use every day, too. It’s not quite as accommodating as the four-seat Porsche 911, but there’s a useful boot at the front, luggage space behind the two seats, and a ride that won’t punish you on a long journey.
It's close to being a sensible supercar, then, but is this enough to make it the pick of a talented bunch? Read our review to find out. And whichever car you settle on, visit our New Car Buying pages to see how much we can save you.