When the 2008 Audi R8 hit the streets, it was more than just the first mid-engined exotic from the brand. It set the tone for supercars to follow, that ride comfort and everyday livability were now just as important as 0-60’s and lap times. Well, there’s an all-new R8 right around the corner, but before we move on, we wanted just one more taste of the original.
It’s hard to believe that the Audi R8 has been around for as long as it has, as much like the characters in Peanuts, it never seems to age. This 2015 edition is no different, as it still looks as great now as it did when it first rolled into and quickly out of Audi showrooms.
The low slung shape, with large, protruding, side blades, certainly still has the ability to attract attention wherever it goes, and the available V10 still has the power to get it just about anywhere in a hurry.
The final model year of the first generation car sees some minor updates, including a new sport exhaust system for the V10 plus model, available diamond stitching in the Alcantara headliner, and a few other standard features.
While the upcoming 2nd gen car, which you can see in Marvel’s latest Avengers movie, will be based on the Lamborghini Huracan carbon-fiber and aluminum chassis; this one of course, is still all-aluminum.
With that V10 mounted mid-ship, weight comes in at 3,792–lbs. Or you can drop 130-lbs. More by stepping up to our V10 plus, which shaves weight with more carbon fiber, a smaller fuel tank, reduced sound insulation, and standard ceramic brakes.
After putting our full weight on the gas pedal at our test track, this R8 V10 plus shot to 60 in 4.0-seconds. Now that’s a little slow, as even with quattro pulling power to all 4 wheels in earnest, and world-class launch control, we had trouble hooking up on our aging track surface.
High-revving, full-thrust thrills continue throughout the ¼-mile, along with hard and fast shifts from the optional S tronic dual-clutch 7-speed transmission. Our ¼-mile of 12.2-seconds at 123 miles-per-hour also took a little longer than expected, yet still ended up slightly faster than our 20-10 R8 V10 test.
Our expectations were fully met through our slalom courses, where epic amounts of steering feel and chassis composure make the trip through the cones almost boring. It would take much higher speeds than achieved here, and a challenging road course, before you could even sniff this car’s limits.
The same could be said about braking, with stops from 60 averaging just 102-feet; as these ceramic brakes proved they are truly the real deal. Of course they are overkill, and quite grabby, for street work. Still, overall, the R8 feels amazingly at home there too.
There may be seating for just two, but both of the lucky ones have plenty of space to get comfortable. All trim work and materials are high class in feel and mechanical in nature, although the look could use a little updating.
We still love the beefy knurled aluminum shifter even if we’re just sliding it over to auto, instead of working the manual’s gated paths. The steering wheel mounted paddle shifters work equally as well.
The gauge panel features real honest-to-goodness gauges; not virtual facsimiles thereof, with a small lap timer in the center. Audiophiles can upgrade to a 465-watt 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium sound system that truly brings the noise.
But if mechanical noises are more your thing, engage sport mode on the console and the V10 mounted directly behind you will deliver even more glorious sounds.
Ah, that V10. All 5.2-liters worth of power producing aluminum, making 550-horsepower and 398 lb-ft. of torque. Yes it likes to rev, and yes you’ll enjoy it just as much as it does. Quattro all-wheel-drive is standard of course and the V10 plus rides on 19-inch wheels that do their best to maintain traction.
While this R8 is not exactly feeling old, after spending some time in the Huracan, we can only imagine how awesome the new R8 will be.
Government fuel economy ratings come in at 13-city, 22-highway and 16-combined. Our average of 14.3 miles per gallon of premium won’t endear it to the hearts of sierra club members, but is not bad for a supercar.
And pricing is also not bad for a modern exotic, the R8 V8 coupes starts at $120,150. Stepping through to this v10 plus however will cost you $177,750. V8 and V10 spyder convertibles are also available.
Our advice, if you’re sticking mostly to the street, the base V8 coupe will entertain you just fine.
Having won over our hearts a long time ago, there was really nothing that Audi could’ve done to the 2015 R8 that could possible make our desire fade. Nothing tastes like an original. So here’s hoping that the soon to arrive all new R8 will be the same flavor, but with sprinkles.
Engine: 5.2 liters
Torque: 398 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 4.0 seconds
1/4 mile: 12.2 seconds @ 123 mph
EPA: 13 mpg city/ 22 mpg highway