What is it?
When the original R8 was launched back in 2006 it was in the fortunate position of having nothing to live up to. Okay, it had to compete against the all-conquering Porsche 911, but it wasn’t expected to be quite on that level.
This was an Audi after all, and for all its quattro prowess, Ingolstadt usually produced effective but rather blunt instruments. Only there was nothing blunt about the R8; it was as sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel.
Fast forward the best part of a decade and now the pressure is on for this all-new R8 to maintain form. Sadly, Audi has canned the V8 and manual gearbox option, saying uptake was too small, so the R8 is now V10 and seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic only. Mind you, it’s already got a racing pedigree: the R8 LMS GT3 version has recently won the Nürburgring 24 Hours race.
That V10 comes in two power modes, both more forceful than before: 533bhp in the standard car, and 602bhp in this V10 Plus version we’re in today. Both are more efficient, too, thanks to dual injection and cylinder-on-demand (COD) technology.
The latter shuts down one bank of the engine under part-load by switching off the injectors and ignition. It then runs as a five-cylinder, swapping between banks of cylinders every 30sec or so to keep the catalytic converters up to working temperature. And all without you ever knowing – hopefully.