The R8’s engine plays a hugely dominant role in its mystique; it’s almost as if the V10’s dramatic sound and fury have been artificially amplified for the benefit of owners who’d rather walk than consider a rival with a smaller, less mechanically exotic engine.
They haven’t, of course – not, at least, by anything as simple as a sound symposer or by playing warbling noises through the stereo speakers.
But in a much cooler and more calculating sense, the car feels like its every component has been fettled and optimised in order to produce as much visceral speed from that V10 as Audi could possibly manage.
The seven-speed S tronic gearbox seldom seems to waste a nanosecond between ratios and is calibrated in its more sporting automatic modes to hold onto lower gears very determinedly indeed.
So even though the car’s power delivery is inherently less flexible than that of its turbocharged rivals, on the road you’d be amazed if those rivals were any faster.
And when you need this car to pick up and go, whether you leave it to kick down or select its lower ratios yourself, it really accelerates hard – not as effortlessly as some of its competition, but every bit as quickly.
It’s a big scalp for Audi that, despite losing out from a standing start by a solitary tenth of a second, the R8 V10 Plus outsprinted the benchmark Porsche 911 Turbo S to 100mph by almost half a second.