- We like...Looks; a superb drive
- We don't...Super-pricey extras
It's Audi's first supercar, and the make's whistled up a true Porsche 911-baiter. Yep, it really is that goodThe Audi R8. Beautiful to behold and fabulous to be in, it’s also to be admired as a towering achievement.
Why? Because Audi hasn’t until now had a car that’ll go ahead-to-head with the likes of Porsche’s 911. And to have built from scratch a two-seater that’s so jaw-drop gorgeous is something.
If you didn’t know differently, you’d think that its pedigree shape had evolved over generations. But it’s still very much an Audi, not least because of the headlamps and pronounced ‘snout’ that link it firmly to the current generation saloons, hatches, cabrios and coupes.
Sensibly, Audi borrowed several leaves from Porsche’s book on its way to supercar creation. Inside, it’s restrained and very much an Audi: all top-drawer plastics, chromed and brushed metal finishes and tidy, informative instrumentation. And, just like a Porsche, it’s not deliberately not showy...until you get to the wheel with its sawn-away lower rim. And then there’s the gearshift with its Ferrari-esque chromed gate and piston-topped shift lever - a visual treat if there ever was.
The seats look expensive and all-enveloping and hold you firmly, but even broad and tall drivers should have room to get comfortable.
Fire it up and that 4.2 V8 burbles and glugs just at your left ear. Move off and you’re aware at once that it kicks up a racket but it’s so involving that you don’t mind. It’s docile in traffic, happy to trickle in a low gear and with a breath of throttle.
Head out of town, wait for the traffic to clear and let the car flex its muscles. It kicks down the road with the zest you’d want: but as long as you don’t go silly, it stays composed and controllable, hugging the road and feeling wonderfully stable and planted. It would be an easy car to cover great distances in.
And you’d not need to be a seasoned and overly skilled driver to see its best, because the controls are well weighted and responsive. It’s an easy car to drive.
For what it is, it’s a practical car, too. That big motor out back limits luggage space to a deep slot up front, but it looks big enough for a couple of sports holdalls. There’s also a fair amount of space in the cabin behind the seats. Like a Porsche 911, it’s versatile enough to work as a car that you used all day, every day.
A word now about money. If you can stump for an R8 without flinching, we’ll bet the desire to own one bats aside all other thoughts. But its £78,045 isn’t bad going as supercars go and is bang-on what you’d pay for a 911. But the car you see pictured here wears an alarming £12,000 in extras. Let’s list a few: fine nappa leather package (£2500), Sat-nav with DVD (£1800), red paint with carbon sigma sideblade (£1500), Audi magnetic ride (£1300), Bang & Olufsen sound system (£1200). Welcome to the world of supercar cost-extra options.
The R8’s so new that you’ll scarcely see one second-hand for some while yet. And even when three years old, they’ll fetch better than half their original price if trade experts are to be believed.
It’s a special car, good enough to show Porsche-beating potential and, as yet, far more exclusive. If you’ve the cash, go buy one.
View new and used Audi R8s on motors.co.uk
- Engines4.2 V8
- 0-60 mph4.5sec
- Insurance groups20
Motors.co.uk value verdict: