Built on the same platform as the Lamborghini Gallardo, the Audi R8 is a two-seat, mid-engine car with either V8 or V10 power. The R8 is a full-on sports car with head-turning looks and attention-grabbing sound. But in the Audi tradition, it’s also a comfortable daily driver with manners more like those of a sport sedan.
Audi R8 Overview
Introduced in 2008, the initial R8 is an all-wheel drive coupe with a 4.2-liter V8 that produces 420 horsepower (basically the same engine from the 2008 Audi RS 4). A six-speed manual transmission is standard, while a six-speed automated manual called “R Tronic” is available and found in many cars. Although the R Tronic transmission is the only self-shifting option on these early cars, it isn’t as smooth as a conventional automatic.
For 2010, the R8 5.2 V10 was introduced. This 10-cylinder, 525-horsepower unit provides vastly more power than the V8 and pushed the R8 easily into territory occupied by cars like the Porsche 911 Turbo and Lamborghini Gallardo.
The R8 Spyder was introduced in 2011, first as a V10 model and followed in 2012 by the V8 version. Both are mostly identical to their hard-top counterparts, except for the power-folding fabric roof that retracts into a compartment behind the seats at the touch of a button.
The R8 GT models, also introduced in 2011, are rare, lightweight versions of the V10 car, with 552 horsepower and a track-focused suspension setup.
No R8s were produced for the 2013 model year, but the R8 was revised for 2014 with a new grille and bumper design and standard LED headlamps. V10 models got an adaptive suspension system as standard, along with some other interior equipment. Notably, the R Tronic option was replaced by the smoother, seven-speed S Tronic dual-clutch transmission, which became the standard transmission on V10 cars.
The redesigned, second-generation R8 was revealed at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. This new R8 includes two V10 models with either 540 or 610 horsepower, and a new fully electric e-tron version with 456 horsepower.