What Car? says...
A spaceship landing in the brand's line-up. That’s how the Audi R8 was described – by Audi – when it arrived well over a decade ago.
Back then, we were used to Audi’s considered approach to its everyday models and also its flurries into motorsport, most notably with the legendary Audi Quattro rally car. But a supercar? That was new. That was news. And, a decade or so on, the R8 has garnered the respect of its rivals.
The latest version represents formidable competition to the McLaren 570S, the Mercedes-AMG GT and the Porsche 911. It serves as a halo model for Audi Sports’ performance line-up, but it’s also been joined by the Audi E-tron GT high-performance electric car.
That’s interesting because the Audi R8’s naturally-aspirated 5.2-litre V10 petrol engine is, perhaps, the very antithesis of the electric car. Looked at in basic terms, it’s a positively antiquated piece of engineering, and yet... it’s one of the best engines on sale today.
We’d go so far as to say that its only true rival in the Top Trumps of current motors is the wonderful naturally-aspirated 4.0-litre flat six in the Porsche 911 GT3. Why? Well, you can read all the reasons later in this review, but reason number one is: it sounds awesome. It can make anyone with a nuanced love of cars weak at the knees.
It comes in a variety of power outputs, although none of them serve up any less than well north of 500bhp. All versions come with an S tronic seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, but there’s a choice of rear-wheel drive or quattro four-wheel drive.
Is all that enough to make it the pick of a talented bunch of seriously respected supercars? Read this review to find out. And whichever car you settle on, visit the free What Car? New Car Buying service to see how much we can save you on scores of makes and models, including the Audi R8.
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