Audi’s quickest street car ever is surprisingly easy to pilot
“What the hell is everybody taking a look at? Oh, proper.” That was the thought we stored coming again to, bombing throughout the again roads of Portugal within the new Audi R8 V10 Plus, headed stateside subsequent spring. After a couple of hours within the cockpit, it simply felt like a daily Audi. However, in fact, it wasn’t. With 610 hp, it’s the quickest street-going automobile the corporate has ever produced. It even has extra energy than the manufacturing facility-produced buyer race automotive, based on Audi, with which it shares about 50 p.c of its components.
Audi stored the design system of the unique R8, solely gently revising the entrance and rear to be sharper and extra aggressive. The brand new TT and A4 observe the identical language. The fenders are a bit wider, and the corporate modified its sideblade design to 2 items as an alternative of 1. The general form, which apes the Le Mans automotive in profile, is mainly unchanged. The V10 Plus will get a carbon-fiber spoiler; the usual V10 has a flush, physique-coloration piece that deploys at pace. Exterior, sideblade and inside colours can all be personalized by means of the Audi Exclusive program. The automaker displayed a slate-grey mannequin with orange trim — we’ll confess to liking it greater than the usual hues we drove, which already acquired loads of love from all of the walkers and bikers alongside our route.
The naturally aspirated 5.2-liter V10 within the Plus raises the sport 60 hp over the past mannequin and 15 lb-ft extra torque for a brand new complete of 413 lb-ft, all accessible at 6,500 rpm. The screaming German powerplant solely lastly cuts out at a stratospheric eight,seven hundred rpm. The R8 can dash to sixty two mph in three.2 seconds, reaching 124 mph in 9.9. Prime velocity is 205 mph, which appeared reachable when paddling by way of the gears. The “base” V10 — Audi says no V8s are deliberate as of now — will get 540 hp and 398 lb-ft.
The R8 V10 Plus felt supremely composed over the bumpy Portuguese roads.
What’s it prefer to drive?
Energy is fed to all 4 wheels via a seven-pace S-tronic twin-clutch transmission, which swapped cogs seamlessly and instantaneously. Shift occasions? We estimate zero.zero seconds. The corporate hasn’t determined if it can add the candy, gated guide transmission of the final era. We’re maintaining our hopes up. The V10 sings loudly at velocity, however not within the Italian-Ferrari-opera type of approach. It sounds extra scientific, extra synthesized, extra tuned. Gear adjustments and early liftoffs are greeted with a satisfying pop-pop from the twin exhaust.
Audi says the central diff can ship one hundred pc of the facility ahead or backward, one thing you’ll be able to really feel whenever you purposely get it off form when the traction management is in efficiency mode or off. A bit of wheel correction mixed with the entrance rubber pulling had us again in line very quickly.
On the graceful Portuguese roads, the R8 felt as composed as a supercar can, which is to say it rode loads like a very quick Audi sedan. Double wishbones at every nook saved all the things planted, whereas the optionally available 20-inch Pirellis held on for expensive life. The chassis appeared impervious to unhealthy and bumpy pavement throughout braking, turning and acceleration. Even round unfamiliar, reducing radius turns, it simply absorbed the undulations and stored rocketing towards the horizon. As with the final technology, the R8 will get the Drive Mode Choose operate, which adjusts the steering, suspension, throttle and shift parameters from consolation to auto to dynamic. Efficiency, which is a brand new mode, is accessed by a checkered-flag button on the steering wheel and dials again the traction management threshold.
The wheel options full controls for all the pieces however local weather.
About that wheel. Audi went full manettino with the brand new R8, placing all of the related capabilities inside a finger size. The massive pink begin button is to the fitting, together with the exhaust “loud” button. Drive Choose, navigation and, most significantly, the efficiency button are on the left. Behind the wheel is Audi’s new Digital Cockpit, a 12.three-inch configurable display displaying pace, revs, maps, radio and different essential data. Audi leveraged Google Earth for its nav system, which means not solely may we see the tackle we had been going to, we may see the colour of the constructing. And, on an unfamiliar racetrack, we’d be mendacity if we stated we didn’t look down for a cut up second to recollect if this downhill was a left or a proper.
We discovered the usual shell seats completely comfy for on a regular basis driving, even after 100 or so miles behind the wheel. Audi will even provide a full-leather-based package deal, which is just a little softer on the behind. Neither seat has a peak adjustment, however the headliner is excessive sufficient to suit a driver with a helmet or an exceptionally tall German.
With the Digital Cockpit behind the wheel, the central sprint is freed from muddle save for a couple of vents and knobs for the local weather management. The corporate additionally moved the jog dial aft of the shifter, so one doesn’t have to succeed in round to make use of the features.
After a number of hours on public roads with little fatigue, we hit the rising and operating 2.9-mile Algarve Worldwide Circuit for some full-pace laps. Right here we had an opportunity to throw the R8 round a little bit and located it as straightforward because the final mannequin to drive quick. It’s presumably the simplest supercar to pilot that we’ve ever examined. Mechanical grip is powerful and confidence inspiring, solely letting go once we received again on the fuel too early in exiting a pointy nook. A fast loosening of the reins introduced the automotive again in line shortly; that was in efficiency mode. We had loads of enjoyable with the traction management fully on, too. By means of the curler coaster-fashion hills, the automobile solely felt mild for a break up second on the peak and was simply pulled again down with a faucet on the elective carbon-ceramic brakes. We didn’t really feel any fade on the observe, however we solely did a couple of laps at a time; a full 20-minute session would possibly inform a special story. The R8 V10 and V10 Plus each function launch management, which is only a matter of placing the automotive in efficiency mode, standing on the brake after which standing on the throttle. It doesn’t really feel almost as harsh on the automobile because it does another autos. Cough, Nissan GT-R, cough.
ASSOCIATE EDITOR JAKE LINGEMAN: I have not pushed an R8 for just a few years. This V10 Plus with the brand new twin-clutch gearbox is far more civil than the final mannequin. The transmission is much less vicious and far …
Do I would like one?
We solely examined the European-spec vehicles, however, based on Audi, there received’t be many adjustments after they hit dealerships within the U.S. subsequent spring. We gained’t get the cease/begin system, or the frickin’ laser headlights, which really look cooler off than on. We do get completely different aspect markers however in any other case, very shut. The R8 V10 will sticker for a hundred sixty five,000 euros. The V10 Plus will are available in at 187,four hundred. Audi says U.S. costs will likely be revealed nearer to launch. For reference, the final V10 Plus was $173,500.
Audi does have one thing particular with the R8. That’s why it didn’t stray too removed from its profitable components. The corporate had its first R8 auto-present automobile on show from 2003 on the occasion, and it regarded prefer it may have been designed yesterday. Couple that with its stability and luxury on the street and its ease to drive quick on the observe, and there’s loads to love. Simply keep in mind, you’re in a supercar, and that’s what the hell everyone seems to be taking a look at.