What is it?
This is the Audi R8 5.2 V10 FSI - baldly, an Audi R8 with a 5.2-litre V10 motor under the engine cover. More specifically it’s the quickest and most expensive production Audi ever, the first capable of a sub-4sec 0-62mph time and a car that was scheduled to carry a six figure price tag until Mr Darling’s VAT cut.
Comparisons between the Audi R8 V10 and the Lamborghini LP560-4 are inevitable, not least because, internally, the engines are identical, right down to their uneven 54 and 90deg firing intervals. But different intakes and exhausts means the Audi is restricted to a mere 517bhp, the better-breathing Lambo manages 552bhp.
Still, in a car weighing just 1635kg (only 60kg more than a V8 R8 despite a considerably higher spec, this still leads to an impressive 316bhp per tonne power to weight ratio for the Audi R8 V10, superior even to that of a 911 Turbo, the car which in terms of price and pitch it probably most closely resembles.
Interestingly, while the Audi R8 V10 has received a great deal of attention in certain areas because of its 100bhp-plus power gain – its springs are 20 per cent stiffer at the front and 22 per cent stiffer at the rear, it has a thicker rear roll bar and a fresh set of suspension bushes – in others it’s barely been touched.
Whether you specify steel or carbon ceramic brakes they’ll be the same that you find on a Audi R8 V8, the tyres are no different and even the body has needed no further stiffening to cope with the performance potential.
The six-speed manual and semi-automatic gearboxes have been left untouched, with just a raised final drive ratio to accommodate a top speed that rises from 187mph to 196mph.
Visually you’ll spot an Audi R8 V10 by its badging, intricate ten-spoke 19in wheels, wider sills, enlarged air intakes and different exhausts while, inside you’ll need to spot the now-standard Nappa leather or the little ‘V10’ badge on the tacho.
The Audi R8 V10 is also the first production car to have wholly LED lighting front and rear. But if this all sounds a bit too forensic, the presence of a fairly enormous V10 under the transparent engine cover is something of a giveaway too.