he R8 has been with us for quite some time but never fails to stun. Essentially this is their R8 LMS race car brought to the streets with 40kg saved by cutting the roof off, a 5.2-litre engine that produces 540bhp and add a 7-speed S tronic transmission that changes gear faster than a human can blink, and produces a 0-62mph time of 3.5 seconds. Mid-mount the engine to give it a lower centre of gravity and Audi’s legendary Quattro AWD system and you have a monster waiting to be tamed.
Upon sitting my rump in the R8, l realised that there really are Everyday Supercars in this world. I could certainly drive this everyday. If you dial it all down, it will drive like a civilised family car, albeit a tad quicker, but then make all the required adjustments such as popping it into sport mode that sharpens up the gear changes, brakes and suspension, pop it into paddle manual and turn the exhaust to loud and you have an eye watering supercar that sticks like glue and is quick enough to rotate your eyeballs. The odd thing about the R8 is that you don’t really feel at any point that you might die. I know this sounds banal but there is that thing, that visceral buzz, of being on the edge but with the R8, it is so safe and planted that you feel you can get away with anything. My two year old could drive this car.
It is a great match with the SVR as we steamed across Europe, smiling like baboons. Planted is the word for the R8 as it sits so well on the road and corners so flat that it defies logic. The build quality and the attention to detail is superb and pushing the go pedal into the Axminster throws you back in the seat like few others. Oh, and did l mention the noise?
With the Spyder, it is wonderful to hit the button and watch the magic of the folding roof and then let the breeze into your hair. Now here’s a thing - most cars are designed as a hard top and then they cut the roof off and the R8 is no exception. Is it only me that prefers the look of the coupe rather than the convertible? Every aspect of the hardtop is meticulously designed and then they chop the roof off. I cannot think of a car that looks better convertible than the original hardtop.
The steering is a little like a go kart in that it responds to your every twitch as if possessed and that makes cornering such an absolute pleasure and, with carbon ceramic brakes, it will stop on a penny too.
It would be very tough to beat the R8 as an everyday supercar but at £150,000 it is not cheap but then the finer things in life rarely are.
- Model tested: R8 V10 FSI Spyder
- Engine: 5.2-litre
- Power: 540bhp
- Performance: 0-62 3.5 seconds
- Top: 197mph
- Economy: 22.1mpg combined
- Price from: £132,370