While the Plus may have a more aggressive suspension set-up, the lesser R8 is still a talented car in the twisties. Understandably, given the everyday supercar remit, there is some understeer when you enter a corner too quickly, but you have to be travelling very quickly indeed to ever feel this. Sheer mechanical grip dominates the experience.
Should you be brave (or foolish) enough to get to this level, a bit of trail braking will tuck the nose in, while a stab of throttle will get the back end into play. Should you find yourself sideways, the quattro system quickly sends torque to the front wheels helping to haul the car out of a slide without too much drama.
Naturally, given the focus on cornering ability, the suspension is firm, but not uncomfortably so. You do feel every bump, rut and undulation in the road, but the damping ensures that the car deals with the initial hit quickly and without getting unsettled. Even a long road trip doesn’t leave you feeling battered and bruised.
Our test car was fitted with the standard, non-variable ratio steering system. Although the weight increases as you flick through comfort, auto and dynamic modes, it always feels a bit light and aloof compared with the very finest electronic racks out there. It is, however, precise and an improvement on the variable-ratio dynamic set-up we've previously tried.
Although you miss out on the ceramic brakes of the Plus, the eight-piston front and four-piston rear callipers put up with plenty of abuse even on track. Not only were they powerful, they resisted fade well. Our only complaint is that they could prove tricky to modulate under normal road driving.
There are no prizes for guessing that the R8’s interior is a very pleasant place to be. It may be recognisably Audi, but there’s enough bespoke switchgear to make it feel that little bit more special than the rest of the range.
Despite this, visibility is surprisingly good for a low-slung, mid-engined car. Factor in a reasonable boot up front and plenty of storage in the cabin, and you could use the R8 every day.