It may not have a posh badge, but when it comes to what really matters the R8 has what it takes to hold its head high among supercar rivals
What isn’t? Audi’s first supercar takes the brand into a whole new part of the market – this is the most radical road-goer to wear four rings since records began.
Based around various components shared with the (Audi-engineered) Lamborghini Gallardo, the R8 uses a mid-mounted, dry-sumped version of the RS4’s 4.2-litre FSI V8 engine to deliver stunning performance: 0-62mph takes a claimed 4.6 seconds and the top speed (unencumbered by one of those pesky 155mph limiters) is reckoned to be a whopping 187mph. Wearing a £76,725 price tag in manual form it’s priced hard against the heartland of the Porsche 911 range – so should you cancel that Carrera 4S?
What's it like?
In a word: great. In two words: really great. Despite the supercar underpinnings and the sight of the mid-mounted V8 under a Ferrari-alike glass cover, the R8 drives more like a sports car. It delivers agility and massive cornering grip, but matches this to impressive high-speed refinement and the sort of comfort necessary to devour trans-continental journeys at a sitting. (The 90-litre fuel tank even gives a decent 300-mile-plus range between filling station stops.)
The R8 likes to get its teeth into the twistier stuff, too, cornering with the sort of poise and precision that no road-going Audi has offered before. And, best of all, the four-wheel drive system’s rear-biased torque delivery means it can even be induced to deliver a bit of painlessly corrected power oversteer.
So is it as good as a Porsche 911? As a total package it’s desperately close to having the measure of Weissach’s finest – the design will turn heads on the sort of streets where a 911 wouldn’t rate a second glance. But next to the Porsche the steering lacks a bit in the way of feel and the Audi can’t match the 911’s perfect interplay between throttle and cornering line.
Should I buy one?
Definitely. If you’re already on the waiting list then well done, the R8 looks set to become 2007’s must-have supercar and we reckon early buyers are likely to enjoy substantial premiums come resale. And if you’re not on the list already? Well, presuming you’ve got £76,000 burning a hole in your pocket and a sports car-shaped space in the garage then join the back of the lengthening queue…