Manufacturers today are trying to make sensible supercars which appeal to the hard core enthusiast while trying not to alienate any one. The Audi R8 is a perfect example of that, a car which is sophisticated, quick as the wind, comfortable, while not comprising with quality. The R8 shares a thing or two with its cousin the Lamborghini Gallardo which has the same engine and they share a lot of the chassis underpinnings. There are similarities as well between theAudi R8 and the Le Mans quattro concept shown at the 2003 Frankfurt show like the use of magneto-rheological damping and the all-LED lighting systems. When R8 international sales began in 2006, it came with a dry-sump version of the RS4’s V8 engine. The supercar was launched in India in 2008 and in 2011 the manufacturer launched the R8 with a 5.2-litre V10 engine. While the earlier V8 engine wasn’t sluggish by any stretch of imagination, the V10 is a glorious engine in a glorious car. The R8 V10 is priced at Rs 1.40crore for the coupe while the Spyder is priced at Rs 1.50crore.

  • 2011 Audi R8 V10
  • Year:
    2011
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Top Speed:
    194 mph
  • 0-100 time:
    4.1 sec.
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Design

The Audi R8 is a head turner like any supercar is ought to be. At the front is the distinctive chrome grille with the Quattro V10 badge. At the rear is a pop-up spoiler and the design is of both function and desire. On the sides are the cooling vents which are made to look attractive. The cooling vents are masked by giant cooling ducts and are painted a contrasting colour in carbon fibre. The V10 get oval exhaust ports, fancier alloys compared to the V8 and subtle badging. There are all-LED headlights with Audi’s distinctive LED daytime running light. The quality or finish engineering is exceptional and 92 percent of the car’s body and chassis is formed from the lightweight material.

Interiors

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If there is a chink in the armor of the R8 then it is with the interiors. Most of the switchgear is carried over from cheaper models including the navigation controls. The sat-nav looks old compared to what is offered by the competition. There isn’t a sense of occasion to the cabin which is what one would expect when spending well over a crore. The cabin nevertheless is finely stitched in leather.

The doors open wide enough to allow entry and the driving position is beyond criticism. There is plenty of room for the driver and passenger and headroom despite the sloping roof is more than adequate. The pedals are made of alloy and there is decent amount of space in the front boot. View from behind the steering is perfect and you get a real widescreen experience. The instrument panel is reasonably trendy and the R8 has a premium music system with stereo effect and 12 loudspeakers. As you’d expect from an Audi, the R8 has a clearly and logically laid-out cabin and our favorite bits are the flat bottom steering and the gear leaver.

Engine and performance

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This version of the R8 uses a 5.2-litre, V10 FSI engine. The engine produces 520PS and 530Nm of torque and delivers outstanding responsiveness and impressive power. There is a throaty roar to it as 100kmph is reached in only 4.1seconds which is faster than the Porsche Carerra 911 S. 200kmph is reached in 12.4 seconds with a top speed of 313kmph. This engine is high revving extremely agile and revs up to 8700rpm. There is torque across the rev band and thanks to the FSI technology, the R8 squeezes more power out of every drop of petrol. The lightweight aluminium construction along with the dry-sump lubrication gives the car a low centre of gravity and the Quattro system along with the Launch Control provides it with furious acceleration. The engine performance of the V10 puts the R8 in a sheer class of its own and the motor remains smooth at low revs which means you can use it for daily commute. Matched to the engine is a 6-speed manual gearbox with shift by wire technology and sport mode. You can operate it from the joystick in the centre console or shift paddles on the steering. The manual transmission is better than the optional automatic.

Ride

The R8 is suspended by double unequal-length wishbones at each corner made from aluminium. It uses an aluminium space frame (ASF) which weighs less than the engine. On the road the R8 is quite unflinching and is hardly troubled by undulations. Ride quality with the brilliant magnetic dampers is excellent and around corners this Audi is in its element. It has an ideal 50-50 weight balance on the straights and Audi have engineered the R8 more rear-wheel driven than front. 85 percent of the torque can be sent to the rear wheels if needed allowing you to do power oversteer. Grip generated by the tyres is excellent and the steering has perfect feedback. The V10 however isn’t as sweat handling as the V8 because of the extra weight but it nevertheless delivers outstanding body control, massive grip and agility.

Competition

The Porsche Carerra 911 S is cheaper but has crashy ride quality. The interiors too aren’t as luxurious as you would want but the handling is phenomenal. The direct injection engine delivers mind blowing performance, the new PDK gearbox is excellent and the 911 remains as wonderful and distinctive as ever. The Aston Martin Vantage is fast but not earth-shattering. Styling is just brilliant and the Vantage is a thoroughly competent car both on the track and off it. The V8 is great fun to drive aroundbut it lacks the dynamics of a Porsche 911 and even the Jaguar XKR-S. The Jaguar XKR-S delivers explosive performance and there is a sense of occasion about the car. The cabin emits a sense of luxury and the handling is poised. Ride quality too is good and there is snob value associated to it.

Verdict

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The Audi R8 is a master piece. Expect for the average cabin styling and layout there is no fault to be found in it. The styling is eye catching, space inside the cabin is good and the performance is exceptional. There is loads of torque available, throttle response is sharp and acceleration to 100kmph is faster than the Carerra 911 S. The ride quality with the magnetic dampers is exceptional and the handling is mind blowing. The steering has good feedback and on the track it is a delight to drive. This sportscar can be driven on an everyday basis as well and there is no denying that the R8 V10 is in a league of its own.

Quotes from other reviews:

Autocar UK: ’ We’d plump for the seemless power and spine-tingling noise of the V10 over the slightly sweeter chassis balance of the V8. Coupé or Spyder? We’ll leave that one up to you, although the temptation to choose the Spyder and enjoy the V10’s soundtrack is one you might not be able to avoid. No R8 is perfect. It’s not a beautiful car and we can’t hide our disappointment that the cabin is less appealing than an Audi A7’s at half the price. Like all Audi’s though, the cabin is nicely made and will probably last longer than those from some more established supercar makers. What the R8 V10 does show is that Audi can build a proper, balls-out supercar capable of challenging its more expensive, less usable rivals. It may not have their posh badges, but when it comes to what really matters, the R8 V10 has what it takes to hold its head high among them.’

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