Video: New Audi supercar is just G-R8
Not even Conor McGregor has one in his fleet, but if he dishes out the same treatment to his next Brazilian opponent, it should be top of his shopping list.
Motormouths joined the supercar elite as we got behind the wheel of the latest Audi R8 and we haven’t stopped smiling yet.
Our weekly tests are a way of giving the reader an insight into everyday cars – yes, we do get the odd luxury motor with a hefty price tag, and we do love a hot hatch, but driving a supercar – that comes once in a blue moon.
It was like celebrity death match without the celebs as we fought over the key but a compromise was made and we got a few days each at the wheel of Audi’s phenomenal beast.
It’s a thing of beauty that could only have been designed and engineered by some of the best and, with Audi’s history with RS models and the famous Audi Quattro, the R8 was never going to be shy in both looks and performance.
In most cases we get the keys, jump in, get comfortable, fix the mirrors, set up the bluetooth and tune in our favourite radio stations. In the case of the R8, we both stood with our jaws dropped fixated at the sheer beauty of this machine. It’s low, sleek and aggressive looking with the bulging 5.2-litre V10 gloriously on show at the rear.
When you (not so gracefully) slouch into the body-hugging seats you are treated to the usual Audi refinement, with a touch of race-car feel.
The real magic happens when you hit the start button and the massive engine behind your head breaths into life.
The noise is something to behold. Burbling and cracking, the 5.2-litre sounds like a volcano has erupted and you just can’t help but play with the throttle.
It’s more of an attention seeker than Kim and Kanye.
We’ve had quite a few cars turn heads over the last few years, but nothing like this.
Maybe it’s the sound that draws the attention, but when anyone set eyes on it, it was of appreciation with a hint of jealousy.
Audi has always made fast cars, as well as sumptuous luxury motors as well, but until eight years ago, they didn’t have a supercar that could compete against the likes of the Porsche 911.
The R8 was born and it showed just that Audi can do anything when they put its mind to it.
Originally a 4.2-litre V8 with 420bhp, we got to drive the fastest Audi yet, the 610bhp 5.2-litre normally-aspirated V10 Plus, an engine shared with its sibling the Lamborghini Huracan.
We love fast cars, that’s a given, but everything has been put into perspective when you launch the R8 and press the accelerator.
The violent sprint to 100kph comes in just 3.2 seconds and it felt like a blink of an eye. Keep your foot planted and this Audi is capable of ferocious speeds, topping out at 330kph – thankfully we never came close to losing our licences.
The beauty of a supercar isn’t just in the design, the oily bits underneath really make it a superstar.
We can both wax lyrical about the huge engine and performance figures, but this R8 has Quattro four-wheel drive, sports suspension that really holds this monster on the road, precise steering and mammoth brakes that bring you to a halt sharpish.
The R8 always felt perfectly balanced, and we were expecting a little understeer to rear its head.
The quattro four-wheel drive keeps everything in shape and the grip levels are ridiculous.
It’s as if the R8 is on rails, even with a little too much power in a tight corner.
We had the previous generation at an Audi track day a couple of years back and it really showed us how good, and how capable supercars can be.
The R8 is probably the best ‘everyday’ supercar currently on offer.
Porsches have that in their DNA, but for us, the R8 is something special, and wouldn’t look out of place next to supercar gods like Ferrari, Lamborghini and McLaren.
Can a supercar really be an every day car?
The truth is we found it very hard to drive the R8 like a Sunday driver, but when toned down in comfort mode, it’s no more hostile than an A4.
The styling of the R8 is low and sleek, described by a non petrolhead colleague as a Bond car.
The front end has the usual Audi face with angular front grille, full LED headlights and air intakes.
The side blades remain, with carbon versions distinguishing the V10 Plus model, which also gets carbon wing mirrors and a fixed carbon fibre spoiler.
You get 19-inch wheels as standard, but our model had the optional 20-inch rims which looks awesome.
The interior has a cockpit feel where you sit low but with reasonable visibility.
You get a 12.3-inch virtual cockpit display behind the steering wheel, similar to the TT and a flat-bottomed steering wheel adds to the sporty feel.
The quality of the finish is second to none and the leather buckets seats are comfortable and supportive.
There is a lack of storage space with enough room under the bonnet for a couple of small overnight bags.
We need to talk about the price though, starting at €231k, it’s expensive.
Choose the range-topping V10 Plus model with a few extras like our test car and your nearly at €300k.
That’s the price of a nice house in the country. Although given the choice we’d live in the R8.
There can no doubt that the R8 is a truly special supercar – it has the looks, performance, handling, noise and special feel you expect from a car of this nature.
There won’t be many shopping in the €250k car bracket, but if this week’s Irish Euromillions winner is reading, the R8 should be on your shopping list.
Paul Keown & Robbie Farrell