Easy to get in and out of, and spacious enough once you’ve lowered yourself down into the cabin. Our test car came equipped with the standard-fit bucket seats, whose torso- and hip-hugging bolsters are reassuringly supportive. The driving position is okay, if still some way off that which you’ll find behind the McLaren 570S’s dihedral doors. The R8 is just a bit too short on adjustability for my liking; I found the steering wheel didn’t quite offer enough in the way of reach, leaving my feet hovering slightly too close to the pedals.
That said, the V10 engine has a not entirely unsurprising ability to make you forget such complaints from the moment you press the large red start button on the R8’s Alcantara-clad steering wheel. Even at idle, the aggressive, sharp-edged timbre of its rumble informs you of the fact you’re sitting mere inches ahead of something very special indeed.
Bury the throttle on a straight bit of road and the result is every bit as dramatic as you’d expect. Acceleration is delightfully linear and impressively rapid up until 6000rpm, at which point it all becomes really rather absurd. Describing the accompanying soundtrack as electrifying would be underselling it somewhat, too.
The thing is, though, you can’t help but feel that the pace and the noise are there to mask a car that’s otherwise not quite as exciting as its crib sheet might lead to you believe. The steering, for instance, is impressively responsive and lends the R8 a front end that can change direction with commendable agility, but you never get the sense that the car rejoices at the prospect of being prompted to do so. This isn’t necessarily down to a lack of feel - there is actually a whisper of communication present if you go searching for it, but there’s also an aloofness about its dynamic character that you absolutely won’t find in, say, a McLaren 570S or a Porsche 911 GT3.
The flip side is that what the R8 lacks in expressiveness, it makes up for in sure-footed composure; and it doesn’t seem unreasonable to presume that many will be attracted to the almost unflappable manner in which it clings to the Tarmac. That’s not to say you can’t make it pivot around its centre by backing into a corner on the brakes, or with a subtle lift of the throttle mid-corner, but it never feels as though it really relishes being driven in such a fashion. It feels characteristically Audi in that sense - and for many that will be a draw.
The same can be said of its impressively fluid ride. Not only is it supple and controlled at speed, it doesn’t fall apart at more relaxed speeds, either. You could happily trundle around town in the R8 all day: the seven-speed dual-clutch ’box is impressively smooth when pulling away from a standstill given how quickly it’ll swap cogs out when you’re on maximum attack; visibility out of the cabin is good; and the control weights are light. It can be a civilised, comfortable car.