First Drive: The 430bhp Audi R8

Posted on January 6, 2012 by

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First Drive Rating:

At £87k the 4.2 litre, 430bhp Audi R8 is certainly not the cheapest car in the ‘real world’ but in the ‘supercar world’ it’s one of the cheapest you can buy. The problem with that is, if you’re lucky enough to be able to wander the supercar world, would you really go with the value range? Probably not.

That said this is a lovely car to drive, just as you would expect of an Audi. It handles well with its 4WD drive and the rear mounted V8 sounds great at low-revs but a little tinny when under some strain.

The interior is typical Audi, sleek and well made, you feel the sense of pride that comes with the badge combined with a feeling that the car is something special thanks to its low profile and flared out rear.

Still despite this there is something very mechanical about the experience, you know that in terms of quality and precision the R8 is going to be superb but what it lacks is character and personality, especially when you consider what else is on the market.

Imagine you have just bought you’re new R8; you absolutely love the car and everything about it. However a jealous friend has just pointed out that you could have spent your money on a 2007 Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder with 10k miles on the clock for exactly the same price as your new R8. To make matters worse the Lamborghini has a 5.2 litre V10, the same engine that’s in the better spec, £108,000 R8.

Bugger.

On a serious note, this highlights the major drawback of the R8, despite being mechanically brilliant, the fact is that if you’re going to spend a great deal of money on a supercar you’re not likely to think of the R8.

Critics would likely say, take £40k off the price and market it as a high-powered, executive TT but ‘supercar world’ is a funny place, it’s a world where comfort and quality go out the window and are replaced with engine noise and horsepower.
On that basis it seems clear to me that Audi need to make this car a little more extreme if it’s going to be taken seriously, they can clearly make a good car but seem to be lacking when it comes to making a good supercar.

A clip of the R8 as it goes out for emissions testing

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Posted in: First Drive, Motoring