“Motorsport is in Audi’s genes, it has always been a permanent feature of our brand’s character,” says Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Board Member for Technical Development at Audi. It is no surprise, then, that the second generation R8, with a high-strung mid-mounted V10, is the most powerful and the fastest road-spec Audi of all time. It is also among the most performance-oriented cars to legally sport a license plate. Here’s our account of an unforgettable rendezvous with this mid-engined supercar.
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Well, everything. Yes, the silhouette remains more or less the same but there’s really not much that the two generations share between them. While the overall design continues to reflect the powerful character of the Audi flagship, the new generation R8 looks decidedly sharper and more dynamic than the model it replaces. Among the highlights of the exterior are the wedge-shaped LED headlamps that are complemented by the dynamic turn signals. Another highlight of the new front fascia is the Singleframe grille whose wide and flat design emphasizes the width of the car.
A look at the car’s side profile and there’s no mistaking it for anything but a true blue high-performance coupe. The flared wheel arches, the gaping aid ducts, a shoulder line that is shaped like a powerful muscle- all of it works to make the car look really dynamic. Our favorite bits at the rear are the sharply-styled taillamps, trapezoidal muffler cutters and a rear window that offers a clear view of the illuminated engine compartment. The R8 V10 Plus comes with a fixed rear spoiler made from CFRP.
Overall, the new generation R8’s design and proportions convey dynamism whilst further highlighting the design ideas that made their debut on the previous model.
Get behind the steering wheel and it doesn’t even take a whisker of a second before you start feeling like a race car driver! Every inch of the cabin feels driver-oriented and the newly designed bucket seats are a really snug fit. The Engine Start/Stop button and the Audi Drive Select Controls are cleverly located on the multi-function Performance steering wheel, just so that the driver can toggle between an almost gazillion settings without taking his or her hands off the steering wheel. Exclusive to the steering wheel of the V10 Plus is the performance mode and a rotary control for selecting the dry, wet and snow programs. Lest we forget. there’s also a control for the sports exhaust system!
Among the biggest highlights of the cabin is the Audi virtual cockpit that offers a plethora of information on a 12.3-inch display. There are multiple display modes; our favorite is the performance mode, which offers information on acceleration, deceleration, power, torque and even lateral forces. Like we said, controls of this system have been positioned on the steering wheel, which means the driver’s hands remain on the wheel during the operations on the virtual cockpit system.
The R8 V10 Plus offers two upholstery options- Alcantara/Pearl Nappa leather and Fine Nappa leather. Also on offer are two leather packages and carbon trims.
Powering the Audi R8 V10 Plus is a 5.2-litre FSI V10 that belts out a staggering 610 hp of max. power. Yes, this is the same engine that also powers the Lamborghini Huracan, which means that the R8 no longer plays second fiddle to its Italian cousin. The new R8 V10 Plus can dismiss 100 KMPH from a standstill in merely 3.2 seconds and can even go on to hit a top whack of 330 KMPH! The V10 comes mated to a 7-Speed S Tronic Dual Clutch Auto transmission and a new Quattro all-wheel drive system. This motor simply loves to rev and the sound of this naturally aspirated V10, whose peak torque is developed at 6,500 RPM, is an aural bliss to the petrolheads.
With a dry weight of 1,454 KGs, the new R8 V10 Plus, in spite of all the additional equipment and greater structural rigidity, weighs as much as 50 KGs lesser than the last generation R8. The Audi Space Frame (ASF), which is made up of a combination of aluminum and carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP), ensures low weight and optimum axle load distribution.The chassis, too, with a double wishbone suspension hints at how close the R8 V10 Plus is to motorsport.
Get behind the wheel, thumb the starter, set the car in ‘Performance Mode’ using the brilliant Audi Drive Select, a neat shove to the gas pedal and et voila! You’re in for a treat! There’s only a faint hint of the tires screeching and the R8 V10 Plus simply flies off the line! While it takes a mere mortal like yours truly a second or two before registering the ferocious growl of the V10 right behind you, the R8 V10 Plus, by now, has already sped past 100 KMPH and the speedo needle’s on a rampage of sorts to fly past all the speedo markings.
This one’s a really quick car, just the car for the rather insatiable speed junkies. But this is precisely what almost every supercar is capable of, no? What sets the R8 V10 apart, however, is the almost clinical precision with which it goes about its business. That’s the thing with the R8, it has got the power, the performance; it has got it all in spades, but not for even a moment does this car try to intimidate you. Once behind the wheel, the gazillion technologies go on to help you establish a connection with the car, just so that you can develop a single-minded focus on driving this powerhouse of a car.
And then, there’s the rousing soundtrack from this V10! The unequal cylinder firing, along with a performance-tuned exhaust, gives this car an amazing timbre. The most entertaining part is the deep growl that emanates post 3,500 RPM.
Why, of course, it can corner! Audi insists the R8 can pull up to 1.01 g in the corners! We did go apex hunting on some fast corners, and as is expected of every legitimate supercar ever made, the Audi R8 impressed us with its poise and corner carving capabilities. The steering is precise and very talkative; the stability is just amazing!
We were equally impressed with the carbon-ceramic brakes setup, which hauls down this German warship from triple digit speeds with absolutely no brake fade. Quite obviously, one simply can’t expect the R8 to offer an A8-like ride quality. Hence, speed humps and undulations are best dealt with at really low speeds, unless, of course, you’ve got family jewels made of steel.
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