Audi R8 5.2 FSI Quattro: driven

* Gets an extra 100bhp * Even sharper dynamics * The V10 is our R8 of choice...

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What Car? Staff
11 May 2009

They don't miss a trick at Audi. No sooner do they start satisfying demand for their cars than they find a way of creating more which is why they've squashed a mildly-detuned Lamborghini V10 engine into the R8.

In some eyes, this might be gilding the lily after all, it's not as if the V8 model, which remains in production, felt anaemic. Still, there are people who will always want the best, and Audi's rivals have V10s, V12s or 500bhp-plus turbo engines in their toy cupboards.

There's more to this than vanity, though. The V10 is higher-revving than the V8, has more instant throttle response and produces a completely different set of sounds, from a rumble at low speed to a shrill wail as you open it up. Then there's the not-inconsiderable matter of the extra 100bhp

Absurdly comfortable

You still get four-wheel drive, an aluminium spaceframe chassis and the near-perfect weight distribution that comes from a mid-engined layout. You also get Audi's magnetic damping system. The result is a car that stops, steers and sticks to the road as well as it goes, and always with a ride that's absurdly comfortable for a supercar.

You're paying £11,000 for each extra cylinder, but even so, the V10 is the R8 we'd choose, though with a manual gearbox rather than the optional paddle-shifter. Just two things grate: in a car like this you'd expect to be able to open the doors and start the engine without having to take the key out of your pocket, and to have electric seat memory.

Our verdict:

Just phenomenal. Worth every penny of the extra £22,000

Audi R8 5.2 FSI QuattroPrice: £99,575-£104,665
On sale: Now
You'll like: Where would you like us to start?
You won't: No push-button starter or seat memory