Automakers are abandoning the large engines of the past for smaller, turbocharged versions, which are more fuel-efficient and produce less carbon dioxide. But as the performance of the Audi R8 V10 shows, it cannot match the unforgettable experience of these old machines.
Could a mid-engine supercar be great value? It is a matter of perspective.
The Audi R8 V10 Performance Quattro costs $ 395,000 plus road costs (roughly $ 425,000 per car), which is a decent amount of cash in anyone’s book. But it undermines the quirky mid-engine competitions from Ferrari and Lamborghini without changing the short drivers in the fun department.
Standard equipment includes massive carbon ceramic brakes, laser headlights, a digital high-precision instrument panel, premium leather sport seats and carbon fiber leather trim on the inside and outside. The metallic paintwork and the three-year maintenance are free, all of which only reinforces the R8’s value argument compared to Italian competitors.
The R8 is easy to live with compared to most competitors. The cabin is relatively spacious and loaded with modern features such as wireless phone charging, digital radio connectivity, Apple CarPlay and 13 Bang & Olufsen speakers.
The nose is cleverly designed to not wear on most lanes, and the magnetically adjustable suspension eliminates sharp impacts and the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires provide all-weather capability – something you can’t say about track-focused rubber.
The driver-focused cockpit displays everything – Radio, CarPlay, Maps and more – on the driver’s dashboard. This might frustrate passengers, and that means you need to master the buttons on the steering wheel to access key features.
Here’s where the R8 disappoint. Modern driver aids, such as automatic emergency braking and active cruise control, are conspicuously absent. You get regular cruise, parking sensors, and a reversing camera, but not the kind of gear usually found in new luxury cars.
You can argue that Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system provides a degree of all-weather safety missing from two-wheel drive competitors such as McLaren.
Here is where the R8 will never disappoint. The 5.2-liter V10 engine mounted in the rear of the cabin is amazing. At 449 kW while accelerating to nearly 9,000 rpm, the large V10 feels easy, powerful and impressive all at once. It’s one of the most musical engines ever, with a howling song unlike anything else on the road – except for the Lamborghini Huracan which it shares the engine with. The dual-clutch Audi stabilizes at seven speeds through gear changes at an impressive pace, and the quattro-rear-biased system rocks its rear end with the measured precision of a salsa dancer.
Fast steering, predictable feedback and the great balance of the mid-engine make the R8 one of the best chauffeur cars for sale.
Most cars these days are turbocharged, which provides impressive fuel savings at the cost of throttle response and acoustic pleasure. While McLaren, Ferrari, Porsche, and others have adopted turbines in most models, the stark R8 engine makes for an unforgettable experience.
Lamborghini Huracan Evo, starts at $ 459,441, off road
The Italian R8’s cousin increases the visual and audio drama for those who want to stand out, but will be hard to live with.
Porsche 911 Turbo S, starts at $ 473,900, off-road
Amazing punch and unparalleled everyday cuteness make the Turbo S a thoughtful choice. For better or worse, it looks and feels like a regular 911.
Ferrari F8 Tributo, starts at $ 484,888, off road
The F8 Tributo, faster, more glamorous and more affordable than Audi, represents the best of Ferrari – and arguably supercars – today.
The Audi R8 V10 is vital to performance
price: About $ 425,000 by car
engine: 5.2 liter V10, 449 kW / 560 Nm
Warranty service: 3 years / unlimited km, the service is free for three years
safety: 6 airbags not yet tested
Thirst: 13.4 liters per 100 km
Shipping: 112 liters
additional: Inflatable kit
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