Review: Audi R8 (2007 – 2015)
Refined supercar that can be used everyday, with a forgiving ride. Very quick with secure quattro roadholding. Outstanding V10 engine.
R tronic semi-auto can be slow to react to paddles. Interior finish starting to feel cheap and dated compared to latest Porsche 911.
Audi R8 (2007 – 2015): At A Glance
Few supercars can match the Audi R8 for all-round performance and usability. It might lack the prestige of a Porsche 911 or the flamboyance of a Ferrari 458 Italia, but the R8 excels when it comes to what really matters with breathtaking acceleration and solid road handling.
The R8 was launched back in 2007 with just one engine - a 4.2-litre V8 - but over the years Audi has refined its supercar, with the addition of V10 and Spyder models. The summer of 2012 saw a facelift, with new bumpers, carbon fibre splitter and LED lights. A new S tronic twin-clutch sports transmission was also added along with a lighter and more powerful model, the V10 Plus.
However, despite the facelift and internal revisions, the R8 looks and feels much very like it did when it first rolled off the production line, which is no bad thing. The R8 is sleek and attractive to look at, while its mid-engine layout never fails to turn heads, wherever it goes. Admittedly, the cabin now feels a little dated and cheap compared to a 911 or 458 Italia, but the seats are comfortable enough, with solid fittings and a decent dashboard layout.
The R8 is available with three engines - one V8 and two V10s - but only true supercar fanatics will want to venture beyond the 4.2-litre V8. Indeed, the V8 fulfils almost every supercar whim, with 430PS and 430Nm of torque. The 0-62mph sprint can be accomplished in 4.6 seconds, while the R8 will rocket along to a top speed of 187mph.
A six-speed gearbox is fitted as standard, but buyers can upgrade to the seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch automatic. For us the auto option is a no-brainer, with quick gearchanges and 0-62mph falling to just 4.3 seconds.
The thunderous V10 can be specified with 525PS or 550PS and both powerplants can accelerate to 62mph in less than four seconds. Top speed for the V10s exceed 190mph and both models get magnetic ride adaptive damping as standard, which lets the driver choose between a 'normal' or a more hardcore 'sport' setting.
Yet, no matter which engine or transmission you choose, the R8 is nothing short of brilliant to drive. All three engines are packed with torque, which equates to outstanding acceleration across every gear. The engines are vocal too, although the V10 stands apart with a thunderous rumble that will make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.
Audi must also be praised for the excellent quattro four-wheel drive system, which is near faultless with a solid footing and bags of grip. The handling is bolstered by a stiff suspension, which eliminates bodyroll and encourages the driver to push the R8 hard in the corners.
However, despite its outstanding supercar ability, the R8 is also fun and useable at low speeds. In fact, the combination of a forgiving ride and nimble steering make the Audi perfect for town or city driving. What's more, the R8 can hop over speed bumps and fit into most multi-storey car parks, which makes this one of the few supercars that we would actually want to drive on a daily basis.
What does a Audi R8 (2007 – 2015) cost?
Audi R8 (2007 – 2015): What's It Like Inside?
- Boot space is 100 litres
The interior of the Audi R8 is surprisingly large, with plenty of head and legroom for two adults. The mid-engine layout means the R8 is strictly a two seater, but there’s a decent loadspace behind the seats, which could house a set of golf clubs or a couple of small suitcases. There’s also a space under the bonnet, but again this is on the small side with just 100 litres of space.
All models get leather clad sport seats, with electric lumbar support and the flat-bottomed steering wheel to provide plenty of clearance between your legs and the bottom of the wheel. The layout of the dashboard is impressive, with a simple to use infotainment system which includes navigation, a CD player and the Audi Music Interface.
All of the systems are easy to use, with the majority of controls accessed via a scrollable onscreen menu. However, the display on screen feels somewhat dated and slow, while the system lacks the fluid operating system of the latest Audi models. The R8 also doesn't have a head-up display, like the RS7, to show you what speed you’re doing and (more importantly) what the local speed limit it.
Some of the interior trim also feels a bit cheap and tacky, with disappointing fittings and plastics. That's not to say the R8 cabin is a cheap throw together of cloth and gadgets, but it lacks the style and modernity of a Jaguar F-Type R Coupe or Porsche 911. However, despite these misgivings, the R8 is generally a pleasant place to spend time and the seats are extremely supportive for long trip. There’s also plenty of all round visibility, with large wing mirrors and a huge windscreen.
Behind the wheel, the R8 is pleasant, with a large and comfortable seat and an excellent view of the road. Admittedly, it takes a bit of work to climb into the low-slung cabin, but the interior is surprisingly spacious. The passenger also gets a supportive seat, with enough room to stretch out and relax.
In V10 trim, the R8 gets some notable upgrades, with LED lighting, stainless steel pedals and a light and rain sensor pack. The dashboard also gets leather trim, while V10 Plus models get racing bucket seats, auto-dimming rear-view mirrors and carbon inlays.
There’s also a comprehensive options list, but we’d recommend the parking sensors and magnetic ride (an option on the V8) as that gives you the option of decent ride comfort for everyday driving and much stiffer suspension at the press of a button for when you want to have some fun.
Standard equipment levels:
V8 has 19-inch five-arm double-spoke' design alloy wheels, locking wheel bolts, tyre repair kit, ABS, ESC, anti-slip regulation (ASR), anti-theft alarm and electronic immobiliser, brake lights with LED technology, LED headlights, wave brake discs, internally ventilated, eight-piston brake callipers at front and four-piston at rear, hill-hold, retractable rear spoiler, navigation, CD player and an MP3 compatible stereo.
V10 adds 19-inch '10 spoke Y' design alloy wheels, Audi magnetic ride, adaptive suspension system with two selectable modes (Normal and Sport), Bang & Olufsen sound system, tyre pressure monitoring system, metallic or pearl-effect paint, light and rain sensor package, LED interior lighting plus stainless steel pedals.
V10 Plus comes with 19-inch '5-arm double-spoke Y' design alloy wheels, ceramic brakes, V10 plus Sports suspension, R8 bucket seats, front spoiler lip and rear diffuser in Carbon sigma, door mirrors in Carbon sigma and sideblades in Carbon sigma.
Child seats that fit a Audi R8 (2007 – 2015)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Audi R8 (2007 – 2015) like to drive?
- Engines range from V8 4.2 FSI quattro R Tronic to V10 5.2 FSI quattro Plus S tronic
- Readers report Real MPG to be between 17–25 mpg
The Audi R8 is offered with the choice of three engines: a 4.2-litre V8 with 430PS or a 5.2-litre V10, with 525PS or 550PS. For most, the V8 will be enough to fulfil the need for speed, with 430Nm of torque and a top speed of 187mph.
The engine is one of the best supercar engines around, with 90 per cent of torque available from 3500rpm. This means the R8 will accelerate from 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds and return rapid pace all through the gear range. The V8 is fitted with a six-speed manual as standard, but it's worth investing in the seven-speed S tronic auto, which improves performance - the 0-62mph sprint falling to 4.3 seconds.
If that isn’t enough supercar performance for you then the 5.2-litre V10 will take the R8 to another level, with the choice of 525PS or 550PS. Even in its lesser form, the V10 is monstrous, with 530Nm of torque at 6500rpm and power peaking at 8000rpm. With the S tronic transmission, the V10 will gallop from 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds and reach a top speed of 195mph.
The range topping V10 Plus develops 550PS and 540Nm of torque at 6500rpm, which catapults the R8 from 0-62mph in 3.5 seconds and achieves a top speed of 197mph, when linked to S tronic transmission. Fuel economy ranges from 20.3mpg for the V8 and improves to 21.9mpg with the V10.
As mentioned, the V8 is a good engine, but if money is no issue then there's no substitute for the V10 Plus. It’s a brilliant piece of engineering, with mountains of torque and a thunderous soundtrack. Combined with the S tronic automatic transmission, the V10 reigns supreme and the R8 will run most supercars to their limit. But the V10 Plus does command a hefty premium and for this reason we think most buyers will opt for the excellent V8.
On the road, the R8 is brilliant fun, with a near perfect balance and solid quattro road handling. The suspension is quite stiff, with no bodyroll, which lets you push the R8 quite hard in the corners and carry a lot of speed in the process. The majority of the power is delivered to the rear wheels, but the four-wheel system will adjust the distribution if it detects loss of traction.
V10 Plus models get upgrades which include ceramic brakes, racing wishbones, springs, shock absorbers and front suspension geometry, which means you can take the R8 to a frightening new limit. Audi magnetic ride adaptive damping is also standard for the R8 V10 (and optional for the V8) with the choice of two driving modes: normal or sport. Select the hardcore 'sport' and the R8 grows louder and the power steering is adjusted to deliver super-sensitive feedback. The S tronic 'box also improves with sport mode with sharper changes.
For the most part, the R8 is forgiving and most drivers will be able to extract a rewarding supercar experience, with firm road holding and breathtaking acceleration. Yet, despite its supercar capabilities, the R8 is also surprisingly useable at lower speeds. It will fit into most car park spaces and will also hop over most speed bumps without question. The automatic gearbox is also happy to doodle along in a higher gear at low speeds, which means the R8 can be comfortably driven in a town centre.
|V10 5.2 FSI quattro||19 mpg||3.9 s||346 g/km|
|V10 5.2 FSI quattro Plus||19 mpg||3.8 s||346 g/km|
|V10 5.2 FSI quattro Plus S tronic||22 mpg||3.5 s||299 g/km|
|V10 5.2 FSI quattro R Tronic||20 mpg||3.9 s||326 g/km|
|V10 5.2 FSI quattro S tronic||22 mpg||3.6 s||305 g/km|
|V8 4.2 FSI quattro||20–21 mpg||4.6 s||318–332 g/km|
|V8 4.2 FSI quattro R Tronic||21 mpg||4.6 s||310 g/km|
|V8 4.2 FSI quattro S tronic||23 mpg||4.3 s||289 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Audi R8 (2007 – 2015)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
What have we been asked about the Audi R8 (2007 – 2015)?
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