Car Reviews Motoring

Audi R8 V10 Performance Coupé Review

Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Born on the track, built for the road. This intrinsic Audi Sport philosophy rings particularly true in the case of the R8.

Audi’s latest R8, the superstar of the Germanic marque’s range, stirs up an intoxicating stew of sensations when you slide behind its wheel.

Not only does the alluring coupe look good enough to take a bite out of, it almost hypnotises you. It toys with your reasoning, enticing you to toss away your troubles and immerse yourself in its company.

You will experience glowing cheeks, a hammering heart and clammy hands when you first gun the Audi. And inside your body, there’ll be changes that confirm the God of desire’s arrow has been fired.

In all truthfulness, the R8, especially in “V10 performance” guise, as tested here, will cause your dopamine and serotonin levels to start bubbling over. Yes, what I’m declaring is that you’ll fall in love, or indeed lust, with the two-door supercar.

Staggering

It’s a true beauty, a work of automotive art, and the model has become even more staggering to look at, let alone drive. The Singleframe radiator grille has an even broader, flatter line. Thick bars divide up the large air inlets, and the front splitter is now wider, underscoring the focused look. In the engine compartment the air filter is situated under a new, three-part cover, which is available in a choice of plastic or carbon fibre.

Modifications to the suspension provide even more stability and precision. In addition, Audi Sport has made the distinction between the profiles available as part of the Audi drive select dynamic handling system – comfort, auto, dynamic and individual – even clearer. On the R8 V10 performance quattro the three additional programs – dry, wet and snow, form part of the Performance mode as standard.

Visceral

Inside, a virtual cockpit display greets you, and getting comfortable in the V10’s bucket seats is easy. What’s more, the R8 is surprisingly straightforward to drive. That said, the snorting, visceral tone emitting from the powertrain, assembled behind the two front chairs, keeps you respectful of the Audi’s capabilities at all times.

This V10 performance churns out 620PS. 0-62mph is done in a bullet-out-of-a-muzzle quick 3.1 seconds, and you can press on to a top speed of 205mph. Gloriously insane? Of course.

The might of the engine’s output momentarily thumps you back into your seat when the Audi’s clout is unleashed via the quattro all-wheel-drive system. And the sound of the car is almost as seductive as its looks.

Glorious

Even at moderate speed, there’s a deep, multi-layered, glorious rumble – and you get a gratifying crackling and popping when downshifting through the seven-speed S tronic gearbox. The growl is feral and intensely satisfying for any petrolhead’s ears.

A car’s ability to accelerate quickly and reach a searing top speed is, inherently, considered necessary. However, it’s the handling dynamics and talent to drive briskly through the bends that make for a spine-tingling driving experience. And that’s where the R8 V10 performance delivers.

The Audi will turn your mind to marmalade on the straights, and it’ll make your liver quiver on B roads. But what it does best is go around corners quickly with the ultimate stability – and that, of course, is what every auto aficionado hungers for. 

Fast Facts: Audi R8 V10 performance Coupé – as tested

  • Max speed: 205 mph
  • 0-62 mph: 3.1 secs
  • Combined mpg: 21.4
  • Engine layout: 5204cc V10 petrol
  • Max. power (PS): 620
  • CO2: 300 g/km   
  • Price: £150,316

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