R8 Spyder/Coupe

Boasting technical precision and efficiency of the highest possible standards, the R8 Spyder and Coupe models are supercars with all the trimmings. Guaranteed to turn heads, the R8 will leave admirers in its wake… and most other vehicles too! Now available with rear-wheel drive only.

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Test Drive

Audi R8 Coupe V10 RWD 540PS S tronic (2021)

AUDI has unleashed its latest R8 sports car with rear-wheel drive and it’s a pure thrill-seekers dream.

Powered by a high-revving 5.2-litre naturally-aspirated V10 petrol engine delivering 540PS and 540Nm of torque, the two-seater can hit 62mph from a standing start in just 3.7 seconds and has a top speed of 201mph.

It’s a car guaranteed to stop any bystanders dead in their tracks thanks to its beautifully crafted design along with accompanying engine and exhaust soundtrack.

The R8 RWD Coupe costs £114,435, although an upgraded Bang & Olufsen sound system and specialist alloys bumped the final cost of our test car up to £120,220.

There is a slick seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission and the car also features clever Cylinder-on Demand technology whereby a bank of five cylinders is switched off when they are not required. This results in improved fuel efficiency and lower carbon emissions. Although don’t get too excited on that front because the official figures show a combined 22.2mpg with carbon emissions of 289g/km.

When viewed from any angle, the R8 is simply gorgeous. It’s one of the best looking sports cars on the market with a gloss black styling pack with front spoiler, side sill inserts and rear diffuser inserts in gloss black. There is a gloss black radiator grille with R8 emblem and striking 19-inch alloy wheels in gloss Anthracite black with diamond cut finish.

Open the door and LEDs project the Audi Sport logo onto the ground and the wow factor continues inside the car with a sporty theme throughout. There are heated R8 sports seats with side bolster support, an R8 flat-bottomed three-spoke sports steering wheel, plus eye-catching titanium-finish inlays.

The main focal point is the 12.3-inch Audi Virtual Cockpit behind the steering wheel and techno treats include 3D navigation, DAB radio, DVD player, smartphone connectivity, full climate control and an internet-based infotainment service with 36 months subscription.

When it comes to performance, the R8 delivers on all counts. With more rear end balance this R8 is slightly edgier and lighter than its quattro siblings and that means you can have a little more fun with a certain amount of drift-like slide into corners.

The acceleration is blisteringly quick and the power levels don’t relent at all as it fires through the auto gearbox with paddles for added driver engagement along the way.

There are drive modes called Auto, Comfort, Dynamic and Individual that alter the throttle response, gear shift points, steering and engine sound, with the Dynamic setting really adding an edge to the all-round handling.

This car perfectly suits your mood and can be deceptively calming when performing in Comfort mode with the excellent suspension system smoothing out the bumps and dips. Then when you want to test your metal, switch across to Dynamic and let the fun and games begin. The noise levels increase, the ride feels much firmer and the responses are sharper too.

Another factor that is surprising is the outstanding comfort levels. Despite its low-slung styling and sports car dimensions, the R8 is actually a really comfortable place to while away a few hours. And unlike some rivals, you won’t need a chiropractor on speed dial. It almost feels like the cockpit has been specifically designed for you with the snug seats, ideally proportioned steering wheel and pedals that line up perfectly.

Obviously, storage levels within the R8 are not going to be great, but the Audi designers have cleverly made use of any free space. There is a compartment beneath the bonnet that can accommodate 112 litres of luggage, along with a spacious parcel shelf that can cater for a further 226 litres of kit. There is a large glovebox, a small-ish cubby box and a couple of cup holders.

The R8 stretches 4.4 metres in length and is 1.9 metres wide excluding the mirrors, so it can feel quite large when driving along narrow country lanes and the other issue can be deciding where best to leave the car. That’s because the doors open very wide so you need plenty of room either side.

But that’s a small dilemma to overcome and one that will quickly be forgotten when you fire up the R8 again and head off to those quieter twisting B roads where the car can be enjoyed to its full potential.

Test Drive

Audi R8 Coupe V10 plus 5.2 FSI quattro 610PS S tronic

Every once in a while a car comers along that makes me realise just how fantastic my job is. In fairness, I do test some right clangers, but when the likes of the Audi R8 rocks up on my drive it’s like all my Christmases have come at once.

That’s because not only does the latest R8 look every bit the supercar that it is, it is also the German marque’s fastest ever road car. Gone are the V8 engines and in their place for the second generation R8 line-up are two V10 powertrains in 5.2-litre guise. The ‘standard’ model delivers 532bhp, but the ‘plus’ model, supplied for my week-long test drive, has a whopping 602bhp which translates into a 0-62mph dash of just 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 205 mph.

It’s a car guaranteed to stop onlookers dead in their tracks wherever it passes thanks to its fantastic streamlining complemented by the low, wide aggressive stance. There are 19-inch cast aluminium wheels, a single honeycomb-design 3D shaped grille, all LED headlights as standard with Audi Laser Light and High-beam assist as a £3,000 option, flat design rear lights with full LEDs and dynamic sweeping indicators, dual gloss black trapezoidal tailpipes, a fixed carbon rear spoiler and door handles that are integrated beneath the car’s shoulder lines making them nigh on impossible to spot.

Move inside and the two-seater oozes premium class at every turn with the finest Nappa leather upholstery. The cockpit is clutter-free and very driver-focused with a flat-bottomed 3-spoke steering wheel, a pitch perfect Bang & Olufsen sound system along with Audi’s latest 12.3-inch virtual cockpit technology which allows the driver to personalise the screen to show the likes of navigation, multi-media information, phone and lots of performance statistics.

Push a red start button and nothing can really prepare you for that initial engine roar – and that’s without touching the accelerator pedal. It’s like a wild animal has just crept into the car with you – and it’s very hungry.

There are driving modes to choose from and the super-slick seven-speed S tronic gearbox is beautifully responsive and smooth. As you would imagine, the acceleration is blisteringly quick and when ‘dynamic’ mode is activated the performance becomes even more exhilarating. The noise can be deafening and you won’t be very popular with your neighbours especially with the introduction of the sport exhaust system (£1,800 option) that really cranks up the volume.

Although there is no option for a manual gearbox on the latest generation R8, the steering wheel-mounted paddles let you take a little more control whenever you want. But that said; the automatic gearbox is more than capable of delivering super-fast gear changes if that’s what you want.

However, despite the incredible driving dynamics and breath-taking performance of the R8, two things really impressed me as I clocked up 300-plus miles. Firstly, the car feels remarkably safe to drive. Despite being a supercar and offering outrageous performance capabilities, it boasts a whole host of safety specifications and feels grounded and controllable at all times with the all-wheel drive delivering that extra grip. Admittedly the visibility when reversing is dreadful, but in a car like the R8 you will happily drive an extra 20 miles to the next roundabout rather than attempt a three-point turn.

The second feature of note is the car’s many moods. Sure it can be a wild animal with all the roar and rasp you could wish for, but when the mood takes you the R8 can be very refined and comfortable. There are not many supercars that are this satisfying to drive and despite sitting inches from the floor, the ride is impressive with excellent suspension.

Audi describes its R8 model as the ‘hero’ of the manufacturer’s ever-growing line-up. And even with a price-tag of £132,715 (£141,670 with options) I think a lot of people might need rescuing.

Test Drive

Audi R8 Coupe V10 plus 5.2 FSI quattro 610PS S tronic

Audi describes its flagship R8 supercar as the ‘hero’ of the company’s impressive line-up and all I can add to that is … I most definitely need rescuing!

The sharply-designed and dynamic R8 was first launched in 2007, but the second generation car is faster, lighter, more aggressively styled, packed with state-of-the-art technology and has an intense and more concentrated focus on performance, handling and driving dynamics. It’s even more economical to run as if that really matters to owners of a car with an entry price-tag of £119,500.

The V8 variant has been ditched along with any manual transmission option (which to be fair only accounted for about one per cent of sales) which leaves potential buyers with a choice of two pretty awesome V10 models.

Both are powered by 5.2-litre high-revving, mid-mounted engines with 540PS available in the V10 and a whopping 610PS in the V10 plus. The latter can sprint from 0-62mph in a mere 3.2 seconds and it redlines at 205mph making it the fastest and most powerful road-going Audi ever built.

The ‘lesser powered’ derivative is not exactly sluggish either taking just 3.5 seconds to reach 62mph from a standing start with a top speed of 198mph. Both cars feature a seven-speed dual clutch S tronic gearbox plus an updated and faster-reacting quattro drive system.

There’s no denying the vital importance of jaw-dropping good looks on a car with such a hefty price-tag and the R8 lives up to the challenge with its beautifully-crafted streamlining, a single frame honeycomb design 3D-shaped grille, all-LED headlights as standard with Audi Laser Lights as an option, new 19-inch cast aluminium wheels, a retractable rear spoiler (fixed and carbon on the V10 plus), flat design rear lights with full LEDs and dynamic sweeping indicators, dual chrome trapezoidal tailpipes (gloss black on V10 plus), door handles that are integrated beneath the shoulder lines making them almost invisible to spot plus a choice of nine colours.

The new R8 is 12mm lower and 11mm wider than its predecessor and that gives it a truly grounded and awesome-looking road presence.

Step inside and the sophisticated, elegant surroundings and seemingly-endless supply of techno treats cannot fail to impress with an extremely driver-focused cockpit and all the bells and whistles you could possibly wish for. The premium build quality is apparent at every turn with the finest Nappa leather upholstery and trim. The car also boasts Audi’s latest 12.3-inch virtual cockpit technology enabling the driver to personalise the screen to show navigation directions, phone, trip readings, multi-media information and lots more with a fantastic blend of mix and match options. Elsewhere eye-catching features include a flat-bottomed 3-spoke multi-function steering wheel with shift paddles, electrically-adjustable heated seats (sport or bucket), a pitch-perfect Bang and Olufsen sound system, deluxe climate control and plenty more besides.

We tested out the top-of-the-range V10 plus model with a starting price of £132,715 (increased to £153,650 with options fitted). It has combined fuel economy of 21.9mpg with carbon emissions of 287g/km. The first thing to be said is how deceptively spacious and comfortable the car is despite the fact you are sitting just inches from the Tarmac! Many supercars can feel a little claustrophobic but that’s definitely not the case with the R8 – occupants in this two-seater have bundles of space to stretch out and the headroom is good even for six footers.

Audi describes the cockpit as monoposto which means it is very driver-focused and that is instantly apparent with all dials and read-outs within easy reach – many adjusted via controls on the steering wheel.

Also controlled from the steering wheel are four satellite buttons which adjust the Audi Drive Select, a performance mode for dry, wet or snow conditions, an exhaust flap adjuster that certainly cranks up the volume and a bright red button to start and stop the engine.

Press that red button and the R8 thunders into life with a roar that wouldn’t be out of place during feeding time in the Serengeti. Slip the gear lever into drive and away you go. The beauty of the R8 is it can be driven in so many ways. Obviously supercars scream power, performance and mind-blowing dynamics and the R8 can easily accommodate those requirements. But it has a softer side where the engine doesn’t need to be screaming or the exhausts crackling behind you. It is like that wild lion can be sedated resulting in a car that can be driven in the torrential rain and through thick dense fog without any safety concerns and that’s just what we encountered during the launch event in Southern France. The ‘wet’ setting was implemented making the grip and control flawless and that meant even in slippery conditions tight bends could be attacked with confidence.

And then when the sun finally put in an appearance and burnt off the fog and the roads began to dry out, there was plenty of time to see the R8’s more adventurous side.

With the car in Dynamic everything is that much sharper, increase the exhaust sound and the crescendo of noise is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. The acceleration is blisteringly quick and every time you decelerate the snap, crackle and pop accompaniment is just magnificent. The steering is sharp and precise and the ride can be described as totally exhilarating.

Another new feature on the R8 is the laser lighting technology which supplements the LED high beam at speeds above 37mph. These lights are very effective and work beautifully in conjunction with the high beam assist function which dips the main beam automatically when other vehicles are detected. This means the driver can concentrate totally on the road ahead without constantly fiddling with the lights stalk.

But it’s not just the big things that Audi does exceptionally well. It’s also the finer attention to detail. For example, the solid-looking grab handle gear stick and the illuminated engine bay are really nice touches. The engine, which sits behind the driver, is visible from the outside through the rear screen with the words ‘V10 FSI’ clear for all to see. Then by a clever use of mirrors the same two words can subtly be seen when the driver looks through the rear view mirror. Small, pretty minor touches but still an indication to the extensive thought that has gone into the new R8’s development and design.

Obviously the R8 has a clearly defined target audience – after all, it’s very expensive, it’s not exactly practical with a tiny 112-litre boot capacity beneath the bonnet and the all-round visibility is truly dire when reversing.

But as soon as the sales books opened 300 UK orders were very quickly placed and 98 per cent of those have been for the range-topping V10 plus model. Audi is predicting 2016 sales in excess of 450 units and after just a few hours behind the wheel of the latest R8 it’s easy to see why the company is so confident about its success.

And with an open-top Spyder model also in the pipeline (possibly 12 months away) that appeal and ‘dreaming of a Lotto win’ is set to grow.

Test Drive

Audi R8 Coupe 4.2 FSI quattro S tronic

If the rumbling and roaring sound of it approaching doesn’t stop onlookers sharply in their tracks, then the sight of the beautiful Audi R8 is guaranteed to leave them jaw-gapping and awe-struck.

For there are very few cars on our roads today that can draw a crowd quite like this supercar and that’s before you even fire up the ignition and unleash the mighty 4.2-litre 430PS engine.

Boasting drop dead gorgeous streamlining with all the dynamic styling you could wish for, the R8 is steeped in Le Mans heritage with an impressive line-up of design awards in its trophy cabinet.

Eye-catching features include 19-inch alloys with smart brake callipers carrying the R8 label, LED headlights with a sweeping rear indicator function that lights up gradually in the direction you are turning, flared air vents, two extra-large round exhaust pipes and a retractable rear spoiler.

And for anyone adventurous enough to approach the car there is the eight-cylinder engine that can be viewed through the rear window.

Once you take your seat behind the three-spoke, flat-bottomed sports steering wheel complete with paddle shifts, it’s clear to see from the level of luxury and technology that surrounds you that this is indeed a supercar.

The leather upholstery is beautifully detailed and there are stainless steel pedals, heated seats, a brilliant sound system with SD card and DVD slots, a colour display screen, sat nav, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, air conditioning and clear instrumentation which makes it easier to keep a watchful eye on your speed.

The low-slung driving position is reasonably comfortable considering how close to the ground you are thanks to the excellent sports seats which offer good all-round support. And another rather surprising factor is and the impressive all-round visibility. That said; all-round parking sensors are a real bonus especially when squeezing into tight spaces. And it’s also worth remembering to always park in wide bays as the doors are very long and need plenty of width.

Storage options are limited with a boot under the bonnet and space behind both seats for a couple of large holdalls.

But let’s face it – in all honesty, practicality is not really that high on the priority list for anyone contemplating splashing out £100k on an R8. The main wish factors would be awesome handling and breath-taking performance and this car is an outright winner on both counts.

When you turn the ignition key the powerful 4.2-litre petrol-driven engine bursts into life. And with the slightest pressure on the throttle the engine’s roar is a hint at what’s in store.

With 430PS at your disposal it’s easy to see why this car has a 0-62mpg sprint time of 4.3 seconds and tops out at 186mph – no slouch then!

The acceleration is blisteringly fast and for anyone feeling extra brave there is a sport button that really cranks up the volume, increases the rev count between gear shifts and adds plenty of fizz and crackle to the exhaust system.

The R8 is a car that loves to be driven and the faster and tighter the bends, the better. It displays incredibly generous levels of poise and traction no matter how hard it’s pushed and simply oozes confidence.

And the test car also featured Audi Magnetic Ride (£1,175 option) – a system that adjusts the suspension’s dampers to suit the current driving position.

Of course, Audi has packed a comprehensive list of class-leading safety innovations into the car to help protect occupants as much as possible, including the superb quattro all-wheel-drive system.

All in all, the Audi R8 is possibly one of the most attractive and dynamic vehicles on our roads today. The combined fuel economy of just 22.8mpg may scare away a few people and the whopping carbon emissions figure of 289g/km won’t win you any friends in the green brigade, but there’s certainly no getting away from the fact it is a fantastic piece of kit.

Test Drive

Audi R8 Coupe 5.2 FS1 V10 quattro

With lines a supermodel craves for, along with its low, ready-to-pounce stance, the Audi R8 Coupe is the perfect choice for the driver who lives and strives for excitement and pure unadulterated quality.

Okay, so you will need a mere £115k at your disposal, but once you’ve sorted that minor glitch, the R8 V10 Coupe will be the best expenditure of your lifetime – guaranteed!

With a history steeped in Le Mans successes along with a string of design and performance awards, the R8 is one of the most eye-catching, drop dead gorgeous machines to ever take to our roads.

Guaranteed to bring out the green eyed monster in any bystander, it boasts two sets of twin exhaust pipes, 19-inch alloys, flared air vents, LED headlights, V10 emblems on the wings and engine bay.

And for those brave enough to get up close, the awesome 10-cylinder engine can be viewed in its glory through the large rear window – a true showcase.

The quality within the cabin is equally as impressive with only the very finest materials in use. Occupants are treated to racing car technology combined with all the luxuries we demand in motoring these days.

There are supportive sports seats and a three-spoke, leather, flat-bottomed, multi-function steering wheel.

Plus, there are touches of creativity and techno-wizardry at every turn

One of the most distinctive features is the so-called monoposto – a large arc encompassing the steering wheel and cockpit that continues to the doors and the tall, wide central tunnel.

All the instruments and controls are perfectly positioned for driver usability and there are creature comforts galore, including an ear-bursting 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system with iPod connectivity and a six CD changer.

There is sat nav, a digital speedo, light and rain sensors, Bluetooth connectivity and a whole lot more besides.

But, luxuries aside, the R8 is all about performance and it’s once you turn over that mighty 5.2-litre petrol-driven engine and apply the slightest pressure to the steel accelerator pedal that you are given a glimpse into what’s in store.

The test model boasted a six-speed manual transmission with the gear lever sitting within a chunky chrome surround casing making each shift that little bit faster and smoother.

Stats show that the R8 can burst from a standing start to 62mph in just 3.9 seconds and the maximum speed is just shy of 200mph at 197mph.

And along with supercar performance, the R8 handles like a supercar too. Cornering is incredibly controlled, the acceleration is blistering and the braking is exceptional.

Admittedly, you can’t expect many miles to the gallon – 19 on a combined cycle, but the R8 is hardly a vehicle that’s going to be snapped up by penny-pinchers.

And storage may be a slight issue with a small holdall-sized compartment under the bonnet and a couple of cubby holes throughout the cabin, but that’s it.

As one would expect, Audi has fitted a very comprehensive list of top notch safety specifications to the R8, including anti-lock brakes, anti-slip regulation, electronic stability programme, electronic brakeforce distribution, tyre pressure monitoring, driver, front and side airbags and lots more.

All in all, the mighty R8 is a brilliant car and every minute behind the wheel should be savoured. But one word of advice – make sure you don’t live in a quiet neighbourhood because you could drop off a few Christmas card lists!

Test Drive

Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI Quattro R tronic

It proudly holds the title as Audi’s most expensive road car to date but should you ever have a spare £120k knocking around doing very little, then I have the perfect way to spend it – buy an R8 Spyder.

It’s the closest us mere mortals will ever get to driving a race car with its 194mph top speed (limited to 155), 5.2-litre V10 engine that delivers unbelievable power and acceleration – for starters it can go from 0-62mph in just 4.1 seconds, but that’s just where the fun begins.

For the R8 Spyder delivers one of the finest driving experiences you could possibly imagine with fantastic road-holding credentials and an engine that growls like a trapped wild animal waiting to be unleashed.

Boasting dynamic lines that will leave jaw-dropping onlookers gaping with disbelief, the R8 Spyder has an incredibly powerful profile with large air intakes, 19-inch wheels and LED headlights.

The interior is very spacious for a supercar and can comfortably accommodate occupants of the taller variety.

The soft top roof can be raised or lowered with the flick of a switch in just 19 seconds even whilst driving at speeds up to 31mph which can be very handy due to our unpredictable weather systems.

Seats that can be heated are designed using fine nappa leather and you cannot fail to be impressed by the sheer quality that surrounds you. The multi-function sports steering wheel is flattened at the bottom and all dials, controls, leavers and read-outs are ideally positioned for ease of use.

The test model boasted an R tronic sequential six-speed transmission, which has a fully automatic and a manual mode, so the driver can change gears in an instant using paddles on the steering wheel. There is also the Launch Control system which does just what it says on the tin – it manages engagement of the clutch for maximum acceleration.

Creature comforts are plentiful and the quality of each and every one of them is second to none. There is the Bang & Olufsen sound system, cruise control, deluxe automatic air conditioning and even the leather seat coverings are specially pigmented to reduce heat from the sun.

You can even have tiny microphones incorporated into the seat belt so you can have fully audible telephone conversations on the move with the roof down.

Obviously safety features are first class too with rollover protection, numerous airbags, Audi’s Quattro permanent all-wheel-drive system and a superb braking system to name just a few.

Out on the open road, the R8 Spyder is desperate to impress and delivers breath-taking power and handling credentials. Road-holding is supreme even on very tight bends at higher speeds and the availability of power at your disposal is simply unbelievable at times. Acceleration seems totally effortless and the general all-round handling is simply mind-blowing.

Admittedly, it’s not a car for the faint-hearted, and not really one to take to your supermarket even though there is quite a generously-sized storage compartment under the bonnet, but this is the car for anyone who has a love and desire for driving quality performance cars… whatever the cost may be.

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