Test date 14 January
2007 Price when new £76,725
What isn’t? Audi’s first supercar takes the brand into a
whole new part of the market – this is the most radical
road-goer to wear four rings since records began.
Based around various components shared with the
(Audi-engineered) Lamborghini Gallardo, the R8 uses a
mid-mounted, dry-sumped version of the RS4’s 4.2-litre FSI
V8 engine to deliver stunning performance: 0-62mph takes a
claimed 4.6 seconds and the top speed (unencumbered by one
of those pesky 155mph limiters) is reckoned to be a whopping
187mph. Wearing a £76,725 price tag in manual form it’s
priced hard against the heartland of the Porsche 911 range –
so should you cancel that Carrera 4S?
What's it like?
In a word: great. In two words: really great. Despite the
supercar underpinnings and the sight of the mid-mounted V8
under a Ferrari-alike glass cover, the R8 drives more like a
sports car. It delivers agility and massive cornering grip,
but matches this to impressive high-speed refinement and the
sort of comfort necessary to devour trans-continental
journeys at a sitting. (The 90-litre fuel tank even gives a
decent 300-mile-plus range between filling station stops.)
The R8 likes to get its teeth into the twistier stuff, too,
cornering with the sort of poise and precision that no
road-going Audi has offered before. And, best of all, the
four-wheel drive system’s rear-biased torque delivery means
it can even be induced to deliver a bit of painlessly
corrected power oversteer.
So is it as good as a Porsche 911? As a total package
it’s desperately close to having the measure of Weissach’s
finest – the design will turn heads on the sort of streets
where a 911 wouldn’t rate a second glance. But next to the
Porsche the steering lacks a bit in the way of feel and the
Audi can’t match the 911’s perfect interplay between
throttle and cornering line.
Should I buy one?
Definitely. If you’re already on the waiting list then
well done, the R8 looks set to become 2007’s must-have
supercar and we reckon early buyers are likely to enjoy
substantial premiums come resale. And if you’re not on the
list already? Well, presuming you’ve got £76,000 burning a
hole in your pocket and a sports car-shaped space in the
garage then join the back of the lengthening queue…