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Audi R8

New from £117,940

2 seats
2 doors

About the Audi R8

  • Tick circle icon Usable for such a hardcore car
  • Tick circle icon Fabulous engine
  • Tick circle icon Relative bang for buck

Incredible supercar, with stellar looks and performance to match. Sadly on its way out, but marking its farewell with a rear-wheel-drive swansong GT version, limited to 15 in the UK. The best part is how easy this V10 beast is to drive around town at low speeds and park. You’ll feel like a Hollywood star every day, but it’s as tame as your mum’s hatchback. Take it to the supermarket or the track: both trips will put a smile on your face. Comes with the brilliant Audi infotainment screen we know and love. One last hurrah for a huge petrol engine without turbos? Go on.

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Is the Audi R8 Coupe a good car?

Read our expert review

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Words by: Dan Trent

"If you’ve always like the idea of an Audi R8 best buy one sooner rather than later, because it won’t be available new for much longer. They’ll still be available used for some time yet, though, and the car’s timeless pulling power means it won’t feel out of date, even if the gloriously old-school engine that defines the driving experience very obviously lacks the turbos or electric assistance of most rivals. If perhaps not as exotic as the Porsches, Lamborghinis, McLarens or similar you may also be considering the R8’s real trick is being just as good to drive while remaining as user-friendly as any regular Audi. If there really is any such thing as an everyday supercar the R8 is it!"

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Running costs for a Audi R8


With a 5.2-litre petrol engine and no electrification to soften the blow of fuel consumption or emissions nobody is going to be under any illusions about running costs when it comes to a car like the Audi R8. And it goes without saying it’s very expensive to buy, too. But compared with fancier versions of the Porsche 911, the Lamborghini Huracan with which it shares an engine and foundations and more exotic rivals from Aston Martin, Mercedes-AMG, McLaren, Maserati and Ferrari the R8 has always looked like relatively good value. In this company the Audi badge may lack a little pose value but racing versions of the R8 sharing many of the same bits have proven themselves winners against all of the above in the heat of competition, this motorsport success sealing its credentials as a genuine contender. That it combines all this with being pretty much as easy to live with as a TT has always stood out as something a bit different, and as appealing now as it was when the R8 first launched back in 2007.

Reliability of a Audi R8


Like many premium brands Audi doesn’t have a great showing on industry reliability tables, partly down to the cost of repairs and warranty work when things do go wrong. The R8, meanwhile, is built in a dedicated factory by Audi’s performance division, while the engine (shared with Lamborghini) is a proven unit with many years’ service in various states of tune. A car of this nature needs more diligent care than your average A3 hatchback, of course, but looked after properly we’d hope the R8 should be reliable. If you’re buying new there’s an option to extend the standard three-year warranty to four years/75,000 miles or five years/90,000 miles at extra cost, which given the potential for big bills could be a sound investment.

Safety for a Audi R8


The R8 is showing its age – and perhaps purpose – in the very obvious lack of driver aids like automated emergency braking, lane-keeping assistance and blind-spot warnings. But if you’re buying a car of this nature that’s probably more of a positive, given such systems often prove intrusive for more engaged drivers. Of more use given the limited rear visibility are things like the reversing camera and if the worst should happen there are airbags and all the rest. The all-wheel drive Quattro version has confidence inspiring traction in all weathers as well, while the lighter and cheaper Rear Wheel Drive has a more dynamic character keen drivers will love. Under power you’ll feel it move around a little more than the Quattro, especially on a wet road, but unless you drive like a total idiot with the stability systems deliberately switched off it’s still user friendly enough to enjoy every day.

How comfortable is the Audi R8


A strict two-seater, the R8 has an accommodating air of familiarity if you’re coming from a regular Audi, and is perhaps less intimidating to use in normal driving situations than some of its more exotic rivals. You obviously sit very low to the ground but visibility to the front and sides is excellent, helping you position what is an otherwise wide machine with real accuracy. Our test car came with the sportier bucket seat option, which is very figure-hugging and comfortable if you’re of a slimmer build and able to squeeze into them. Those of a fuller frame may want to consider the standard seats, so try before you buy if you’re in any doubt. The quilted leather, faux suede headlining and other trimmings of our more expensive Edition spec model helped lift the ambience even further, the R8 full of the feelgood factors you’d hope for in a car of this price. You’ll need to pack light for longer trips away, given the front luggage compartment is barely big enough for one ‘carry on’ sized bag, though there is some extra stash space behind the seats where you can squeeze in softer holdalls. On the road the low-speed ride quality can get a little bit rattly but for such a hardcore junior supercar it’s actually not bad, and as you start going faster it really begins to flow with the road with impressive levels of comfort and refinement. The light, direct steering is confidence inspiring as well, though serious enthusiasts may prefer the improved weight and feedback that more purebred sports cars like the Porsche 911 offer. Horses for courses, though, and the R8 is as easy to drive as any Audi. Just much, much faster.

Features of the Audi R8


It’s a big leap in price from the Rear Wheel Drive to the Quattro, both available in regular and what’s called Edition trim levels. The latter is a chunk more money but has all the good stuff you really want to make your R8 feel special, including some lovely bronze coloured wheels, posh Nappa leather, a Bang & Olufsen stereo system and carbon fibre ‘blades’ on the side air intakes. Still not flash enough? For another £9,000 you can have more, with the front splitter, mirror covers, diffuser and engine cover all getting an upgrade with the Carbon Pack. It looks nice but also somewhat vulnerable if you’re going to be using the car a lot, so we’d probably save the cash. In terms of features the R8 was one of the first Audis with the ‘Virtual Cockpit’ style digital instruments that combine the usual dials with the navigation, phone and other infotainment functions. This means no central screen, which may date the car for some people but we think actually makes the interior feel a lot cleaner and less cluttered. Operating it from the steering wheel buttons or central control wheel can also be done without taking your eyes off the road as well, which is another tick in our book. If you want all of this but with a more aggressive and track-focused vibe the limited edition GT Rory drove in his farewell videois another option, if you can find one.

Power for a Audi R8


The big, V10 petrol engine at the heart of the R8 is literally loud and proud, and clearly visible under the glass rear deck. Unlike most rivals it doesn’t use turbos, so its power delivery takes a little time to build and demands commitment to keep the revs up, at which point you’re rewarded with the most incredible howl from the exhausts and an equally thrilling rush of acceleration for the fleeting moments you can enjoy it. The Rear Wheel Drive version we drove may ‘only’ have 570 horsepower compared with the 620 horsepower of the Quattro alternative but, by the numbers, it’s barely any slower and at no point feels lacking in acceleration or drama. True, you need to respect the fact you’ve only got two driven wheels and make allowances if it’s slippery, but the breadth of the power band, the fabulous sound and incredible smoothness of the engine remain the R8’s defining feature, and more charismatic than anything this side of the Lamborghini Huracan. The automatic gearbox is very slick as well, if perhaps too slick for keen drivers. This encourages you to use the manual mode for a greater sense of engagement, so it’s a shame Audi didn’t follow Lamborghini’s lead and fit proper shifter paddles. The little plastic ones may be fine for an A3 hatchback but feel a little flimsy with this much power at your fingertips.

Standard equipment

Expect the following equipment on your Audi R8 Coupe. This may vary between trim levels.

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