Review

Audi R8 coupe

Price  £93,735 - £160,000

Audi R8 coupe

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Head-turning looks
  • Fast, with fine handling
  • Surprisingly easy to drive
Cons
  • Disappointingly impractical
  • Thirsty engines
  • Expensive options

At a glance

The greenest
4.2 FSI quattro S tronic 2dr £96,635
The cheapest
4.2 FSI quattro 2dr £93,735
The fastest
5.2 FSI quattro S tronic LMX 2dr £160,000
Top of the range
5.2 FSI quattro S tronic LMX 2dr £160,000

“Mid-engined supercars don’t come much easier or fun to drive than the accomplished Audi R8.”

The Audi R8 was developed to take on sports cars such as the Porsche 911 and the Nissan GT-R. Anyone who thinks that a company more used to building executive saloons can’t build a supercar will be pleasantly surprised when they drive the R8. It is just as much fun to drive as a Porsche and, while it lacks the outright pace of the Nissan GT-R, its quieter interior makes it easier to live with every day.

When Audi developed the R8 it gave it the looks to match a Ferrari, but that does mean that unlike in the Nissan or the Porsche, the R8 has no rear seats.

It does, however, have a range of engines that sound great. You can choose between two powerful engines – a 4.2-litre V8 and a 5.2-litre V10 – and, whichever one you pick, you’ll get excellent performance, with the top-of-the-range V10 model sharing its engine with the Lamborghini Gallardo.

It's a fast supercar, so the Audi R8 isn’t cheap to buy, but when compared to models such as the new Lamborghini Huracan and the Ferrari 458, it starts to look very reasonably priced.

MPG, running costs & CO2

2.0 / 5

Thirsty, but servicing is reasonably priced

It won’t come as a massive shock to learn that neither the 4.2-litre V8 nor the 5.2-litre V10 petrol models are cheap to run. Of the two, the V8 is slightly better on fuel than the V10 and gets 19.9mpg compared to the V10's 19mpg. Tax for both models is also in the highest group and will cost £500 per year.

One advantage in the R8's favour is the Audi dealer network and, while maintenance for the R8 won’t be cheap, it will be reasonable when compared to the R8's rivals from Aston Martin, Porsche, Ferrari, McLaren and Maserati.

Interior & comfort

4.0 / 5

The Magnetic Ride suspension feels very comfortable

We know from lesser models that Audis always have well-built, high-quality built interiors, and that same thing is true in the R8. It looks sportier than other models from the range, but retains the high quality soft-touch plastics.

Audi has fitted the R8 with a clever exhaust that allows the car to sound really sporty under hard acceleration. But, once you’re on the motorway, it will also settle down to a quiet cruise. The interior is generally quiet, although you do get some tyre roar from the car's huge wheels.

As well as a brilliant manual gearbox the R8 can also be specced with an excellent seven-speed automatic gearbox, which makes it lots of fun on a twisting back road, but also makes it easy to drive smoothly in town. Another option we would go for is the Magnetic Ride suspension, which smoothes out bumps better than most other cars of this type. This setup is standard on the V10 model, while the top-of-the-range V10 Plus model gets stiffer suspension that is better suited to a race track. 

Practicality & boot space

2.5 / 5

You'll need to pack light for a weekend away

 

There are no rear seats in the Audi so you are limited to carrying two people, although they should be perfectly comfortable up front. The 100-litre boot is small, but Audi will sell you a tailored luggage set, which gives some vital extra storage space, and fits behind the car's seats. You will also find some storage spaces dotted around the cabin of the R8.

Reliability & safety

4.0 / 5

Expect reliability and quality to be first rate

Not enough R8s are sold for the car to feature in our 2014 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, but the company did well in our manufacturers’ rankings, taking 12th place out of 33 firms, and owners ranked the brand well in areas such as build quality and performance. 

Small sales numbers mean the R8 has never been tested for safety by Euro NCAP either, but it comes fitted with a host of airbags, electronic stability control, and advanced traction control. The R8 also benefits from a hi-tech construction that should be solid in an accident, while the car's grippy four-wheel-drive system means you’re less likely to have a crash in the first place.

Engines, drive & performance

4.5 / 5

The R8 is astonishingly fast, yet impressively user-friendly

Probably one of the biggest selling points of the Audi R8 is that it is very easy to drive, thanks in part to the car's excellent four-wheel-drive system. Even the ‘basic’ V8 model gets a 4.2-litre V8 that has 424bhp, while the 5.2-litre V10 boasts 518bhp. For now the V10 Plus model is the ultimate R8 and gets an extra 25bhp over the standard V10, but in reality its stiff suspension can make it feel twitchy on normal roads. Set to join the R8 range later this year is the LMX. It raises power to 562bhp and is the first production car to feature powerful laser headlights.  

The V8 model can sprint from 0-60mph in just 4.6 seconds, and has more performance than most people will ever want. We would however, spec the optional seven-speed automatic gearbox, which not only makes the R8 easier to drive in town, but also makes it quicker out on the open road.

Price, value for money & options

3.0 / 5

Supercar performance that’s surprisingly affordable

Compared to exotic supercar rivals, such as the Ferrari 458 and the McLaren 12C, the Audi R8 is tens of thousands of pounds cheaper and loses little in the way of performance.

All models gets LED headlights, a leather interior, and sat-nav. Spec your R8 wisely – with options such as the adaptive dampers, an automatic gearbox, and a premium stereo – and it will be a more attractive second-hand purchase come resale time. 

What the others say

4 / 5
based on 1 reviews
  • 4.0 / 5
    "The Audi R8 has aged well and a raft of minor cosmetic changes inside and out keeps it looking fresh. The range has also been boosted by the introduction of a slick seven-speed S tronic automatic gearbox and a more powerful and lighter V10 Plus model, which trades a minor reduction in comfort for a slightly more focused driving experience. For most of the people most of the time, the V10 Spyder is our choice though, thanks to its better all-round ability."

Last updated 
3 Jul 2014

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