New Audi R8 test drive: the ten cylinders purist

The Audi R8 gets a new look. But while its competitor have all sacrificed a bit of engine character on the altar of efficiency, the German remains faithful to its extraordinary V10.From now on it acts as a purist, in the same way as its cousin, the Huracan Lamborghini.

R8, the come back

In the history of Audi, the R8 was its first true sports car. Launched in 2007, it finished to complete the great metamorphosis of the rings brand, which after two decades of evolution, now imposed as a reference on the luxury car market in the same way as BMW or Mercedes. In passing, this first-generation Audi R8 honoured by its name the racing car that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Audi’s private hunting since the very beginning of the century. With its 4-wheel drive and its muscular figure, the Audi R8 proposed an exotic alternative to the GT as the Porsche 911 or the Aston Martin V8 Vantage.

But with its original atmospheric V10 of Lamborghini origin, which appeared during its early career, the Audi became an authentic supercar. For its replacement in 2015, the German manufacturer wants to go further by keeping the same formula: with 610 horsepower, the new Audi R8 V10 Plus comes to grips with the present-day versatile supercar references (Ferrari 488 GTB, McLaren 650S, Porsche 911 S Turbo…). Its close cousin from the Volkswagen group may enter in a fratricidal fight against the Lamborghini Huracan, to which it shares a great number of pieces.

Compare to the Italian, this new R8 still shows a little bit less exhuberant despite its Hi-tech arsenal (laser illumination lights and Virtual Cockpit inside). Although very impressive from the outside, the car makes the effort to present a passenger compartment more spacious and a higher roof. Enough to provide a surprising driving comfort for this car category, with easy controls and a reasonnably flexible damping system for quiet use. On board the environment is futuristic, and the ergonomy is trully designed to make your job easier even in urban traffic.

The V10 thunder

The new Audi R8 biggest asset remains its heart. A 5.2-liter atmospheric V10 avoiding the nead to overeating, unlike the others engines of category. A block able to climb until 8700 rotation per minute in a raucous concert that gives you goose. There is no concurrent on this plan, even if some autos can accelerate a little more stronger in a straight line. Add to this a car whose raw effectivness – the 4-wheel drive keep an eye on it – doesn’t prevent from playing with the limits on racing circuit and you will get one of the most tasty cocktails from the supercar family.

The launch control catapults you to 100 km in 3.2 seconds from the full stop, the double clutch gearbox is irreproachable and before your eyes, the speedometer changes color when you approach the switch with a futurist kinematic. The V10 metallic sonority is a constant energizer and the brakes made with carbon-ceramic never loose their punch.

In the actual automobile market where you must by all means worry about the consumption figures even with the supercars (that is also why Ferrari, Mercedes or McLaren switched to V8 turbo), the new Audi R8 became a true resistant. But depsite its dreadful performances and the purity of its atmospheric V10, the German is also able to limit its consumption to reasonnable levels when you drive quietly. So, why deprive yourself of such an engine?

Cédric Pinatel

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Discover the new Audi R8

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