The R8 brings the autobahn to you. It is nothing less than a supercar with a pure, clear German spirit, ready to take on the Italian competition.
The Audi R8’s eager-to-rev 4.2-liter, 420-horsepower V8 that sits mid-chassis is essentially the same as that found in the RS 4, Audi’s premiere midsize sedan. Maximum power is provided by a new 5.2-liter V10 good for 525 horsepower. Either engine can be mated to a traditional manual transmission or Audi’s R tronic sequential-shift gearbox. Either way, six ratios are available and the redline is a lofty 8250 rpm for the V8 and an even higher 8700 for the V10. Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive is standard on the R8, and offers a performance-oriented torque distribution of just 10 percent to the front wheels and 90 percent to the rears.
The all-wheel-drive system is almost completely imperceptible when driving the R8 and the chassis responds very quickly to steering input. The 420 horsepower V8 is a model of response and power and downshifting is rarely necessary, as torque is abundant and available throughout the rev range. In terms of transmission choices, anyone capable of actuating a clutch will find the manual transmission, with its stylish metal gate, a far more satisfying drive than the surprisingly unrefined optional R tronic transmission. Regardless of transmission choice, according to Audi, the R8 4.2 will accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3.6 seconds and complete the quarter mile in 12.7 seconds. The V10 sprints from zero to 60 in a scant 3.7 seconds and has a top speed of 196 mph. The brakes are up to the task, with 15-inch discs with eight-piston calipers in the front and 14-inch discs with four-piston calipers in the rear.
Get ready to feel like Danica Patrick or Jeff Gordon, as the entire cockpit (monoposto) of the R8 is tilted toward the driver for maximum performance from both the car and the driver.
The race-inspired, lightweight, magnesium, three-spoke, leather-wrapped design has a performance look and feel that includes R tronic shift paddles (on vehicles equipped with R tronic transmission) for quick gear changes. The multifunction steering wheel provides easy access to MMI®-inspired logic control for CD, radio, navigation and voice control functions.
The Audi R8 sits wide and low, with its cabin far forward and its engine behind. The soft curvature of the hood and roof are drawn in one sweeping arc, while a vertical “sideblade” between the wheel arch and the roof section breaks the smooth door line with contrasting color. The car’s LED daytime running lights sit flush with giant air intakes. According to Audi, the styling was dictated by aerodynamics.
Only Audi has a blue tooth® seatbelt microphone. This system is the first to include seatbelt microphones, which deliver crystal clear audio even at highway speeds. The advanced technology of the Audi R8 model allows you to conveniently access many features on your Bluetooth®-enabled phone via the MMI® operating system or convenient voice control, allowing for easy, intuitive, hands-free communication.
The 2012 Audi R8’s starting MSRP is $114,000, which shaves off $4,000 from last year. With the Spyder, GT and Spyder GT, the cost can range up to $149,000 without options. Still, if you want to ride in style and feel the wind wrap around you, this is the car for you.