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Information about Audi R8The R8 is one of the most recognisable and desirable cars on the roads. It may not have the badge or heritage of a Lamborghini or Ferrari (95 walls), but it's stunning looks and sheer pace have created huge interest. The company has an impressive record in motorsport, with recent victories in Le Mans, firstly with its R8 and more recently with the R10 TDI. The R8 production car shares its name with the successful race car but there aren't that many similarities. However, it echoes other supercars with it's mid-engine layout and four-wheel drive while power comes courtesy of a wonderful 4.2 FSI V8 engine. Exhilarating to drive and dramatically styled it's a very special car that will turn heads wherever you go. In 2009 (8 years ago) an even more powerful 5.2-litre V10 model was introduced with 525bhp and a 0-62mph time of less than four seconds.
DrivingThe R8 uses the same 4.2-litre FSI V8 engine as the RS4 - it produces 420bhp and 430Nm of torque which powers the R8 from 0-62mph in just 4.6 seconds and on to a maximum of 187mph.This makes it quicker than most other supercars but what sets it apart is the intoxicating experience from behind the wheel, helped no end by the magnificent engine noise that emanates from behind the driver. Acceleration is as impressive and exhilarating as the figures suggest but it's the ease of driving that makes the R8 so enjoyable - it's a car that's accessible to all and not intimidating. The standard transmission is a six-speed manual, but customers can pay £5000 extra for an automated manual transmission - about half of buyers in the UK choose this. Keener drivers will prefer the manual which mimics an Italian supercar with its exposed metal H-gate gearshift design (see pictures). The R tronic sequential box is fine for slower speeds, but if you're driving quickly (which is what you'd expect in the R8) it doesn't respond fast enough. There is a sport setting, but this makes the changes violent and jerky, unsettling the car if you're approaching a corner and changing down. It's actually easier to drive smoothly with the manual gearbox. In Apr. 2009 (8 years ago) a 5.2-litre V10 engine was added which boasts an amazing 525bhp and 530Nm of torque. This drops the 0-62mph time to just 3.9 seconds - with both the manual and R tronic gearbox. As you'd expect, it feels blisteringly quick, but has quite a different engine note to the V8 and doesn't feel as frantic. The extra pulling power is noticeable too, especially when accelerating in higher gears. It's considerably more expensive though and we think the V8 should be rapid enough for most!
HandlingThe R8 has the optimum layout for balance and responsive handling with its mid-mounted engine (behind the seats), and with 46% of the car's weight over the front axle and 54% over the rear axle it feels razor sharp on the road. Hydraulic power steering offers excellent feel - light enough when parking and complementing the R8's relatively modest turning circle, but with enough weight and feedback to allow full confidence in the car's ability at higher speeds. Although the R8's wide stance and low centre of gravity mean the car is quite resistant to body roll, control is further improved on challenging roads with the optional 'magnetic ride' system set in its sport mode. An electric current changes the behaviour of microscopic particles suspended in fluid in the dampers, sharpening the handling characteristics further on the R8. The brakes feel a little keen at first, but you soon become used to them and discover they are very effective at stopping the car smoothly and quickly.
ComfortThe R8 seems to ride better than many less sporty Audis, despite its firm set-up. It can fidget over rough roads but no more than is to be expect of a supercar and compared to many rivals it's comfortable enough in everyday driving. Electronic climate control is standard, and the sports seats should fit most occupants quite snugly, with a broad range of adjustment.
PracticalityPeople tend not to buy high-performance sports cars as their only car, so practicality doesn't have to be a high priority when it comes to designing them. There is one 100-litre luggage compartment at the front which is slightly less than a Porsche 911. Audi claims the shelf behind the rear seats can accommodate two golf bags - a feat that would seem difficult to achieve in practice unless the seats were set quite far forward - and the bags in question were perhaps minus the clubs. The standard fuel tank is 75-litres, but a 90-litre tank can be chosen as an option which would offer a useful extension in the car's touring range.
EquipmentAll R8s come with 19-inch alloy wheels, three-spoke flat-bottomed steering wheel, xenon headlamps, electronic stability control, LED brake lights, leather seats, front and side airbags, Isofix child seat attachment on the passenger seat, LED daytime running lights, CD stereo, retractable rear spoiler, sports seats with electric lumbar support and a puncture repair kit. Options include carbon 'sideblades', LED interior lighting package, leather/Alcantara (no-cost option), extended leather pack (including dashboard, side panels, door storage compartments), carbon inlays, tyre pressure monitoring system, satellite navigation and a Bang & Olufsen audio system. V10 models can be distinguished externally by V10 badging on the wings and a black surround on the rear (around the number plate). These models also have extra equipment including a six-CD changer, a Bang & Olufsen sound system, sat nav, metallic paint, Audi magnetic ride, full LED headlights, electrically adjustable seats, heated front seats, oval exhaust pipes and light and rain sensors.
Behind the wheelAudi interiors continue to set benchmarks for the quality of finish, and the R8 is no different. There are some stylishly unique features, such as the broad arc around the instruments blending in with a bespoke grab handle on the driver's door. The grab handle on the passenger door is of a completely different design. Forward visibility is pretty good, although it is compromised at the rear, with the shallow rear window and broad rear pillar. The driving position is excellent though, with a low slung seat and plenty of steering column adjustment.
SafetyThe R8 has a strong complement of safety features with front and side airbags, electronic stability control and traction control. The quattro all-wheel drive system aids traction in difficult road conditions. With no engine in the front, it should offer better than average protection for pedestrians unfortunate enough to stray into its path.
ReliabilityThe R8 has been thoroughly developed, and should have no more problems with reliability than any other Audi model. Ensure it is serviced according to schedule, and no major problems should arise.
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