I’m not the world’s biggest fan of the Audi R8, but that doesn’t stop it getting my vote for car of the decade.

For why? Because 10 years ago it would have been unthinkable that Audi would make a car like this.

Vote for your car of the decade here

Since then, however, Audi's consolidation as a major premium car maker has been combined with such careful manipulation of its image that today it is able to successfully launch a car into any market sector it chooses. The R8 represents the pinnacle of that evolution.

There's more to it than just that, of course. The R8 is quite brilliant to drive too.

Sure, there are things to dislike about it: a soggy brake pedal, the flat-bottomed steering wheel and a contrived manual gearlever gate.

But look beyond the places where Audi has tried just too hard to impress and you'll find the rest of the package is superb.

The R8’s aluminium construction, mid-engined layout and rear-biased four-wheel drive are so finely attuned to each other that this is one of the world’s best modern driver’s cars.

Even fresh out of the box in 2007, the R8 bettered comparable versions of the Porsche 911. Autocar crowned it Britain's Best Driver's Car that year. At the time, for most of our judges (thought not me, I'll confess) it even bested a 911 GT3 RS.

Knocking the Porsche 911 off its hitherto unimpeachable perch was Audi's greatest achievement with the R8. It succeeded where dozens tried and failed.

And who, when the fireworks went up a decade ago, would have expected that?

Just think about how good, then, the R8 might have become by the end of the next decade.

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