Audi R8 (2007 – 2015) Review

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Audi R8 (2007 – 2015) At A Glance

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.

Insurance Groups are between 48–50
On average it achieves 96% of the official MPG figure

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. 

Audi R8 Coupe and Spyder 2013 Road Test

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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.

Average performance

96%

Real MPG

17–25 mpg

MPGs submitted

14

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.

ASK HJ

Should my son use Shell V-Power in his Audi R8?
My son has recently bought a Audi R8 and I have told him to use Shell V power. He seems reluctant to use it on the grounds that the fuel consumption is already poor without adding the extra cost of premium fuel. Do you think the extra cost of this fuel outweighs the long term cost. In other words will he see a significant mpg improvement as well as the engine benefit to justify it.
So he's bought a £100 grand car and he'd reluctant to spend 8p a litre more on fuel that will give it an extra 50 horsepower, keep its fuel system clean and pay for itself with better fuel economy. He must have won the lottery.
Answered by Honest John
Which high-performance sports car should I buy?
I am a pensioner and have a budget of around £50,000 to treat myself to a 'fun' car before I am finally too old to enjoy driving. I have owned many high-performance cars in the past and I shall keep my Audi A3 3.2 Quattro for everyday use. My shortlist, all of which I have driven and would purchase from a main dealer with an appropriate used car warranty, comprises: Bentley Continental GT, Audi R8 V8 Coupe (manual) or the Porsche Cayman S (PDK or manual), but not the newly announced model. My annual mileage in the car would not exceed 4000. What do you think?
The Audi R8 V8 manual if the money stretches to it, but they can be quite high maintenance. An RS4 certainly is. Or the new model manual Porsche Boxster S that has much better ride quality than the previous Boxster. For a fun car, a convertible makes more sense. And a Boxster has two boots, front and back, so is a better tourer than the new Jaguar F-Type that doesn’t have a lot of luggage space.
Answered by Honest John
Has Audi programmed in throttle damping to reduce noise on my R8?
I have a new Audi R8 V8 manual and I have noticed a hesitation when accelerating hard from 30mph in third gear. It turns out that this corresponds with the EC ‘drive-by’ noise test, so, to pass this test, it transpired that Audi has programmed in a momentary throttle damping. I have applied an interrogation programme via the OBDII port and discovered that when accelerating hard from 30mph, the actual throttle opening temporarily reduces to just 15 per cent. I think this can make the car dangerous in overtaking manoeuvres and would welcome the opportunity to let you try the car and give an opinion.
I did try the car and you are absolutely correct. The throttle damping is not only shown on the interrogator, it can be felt as a sort of ‘roller coaster’ effect, but only when accelerating hard in third gear from 30mph. I agree, the throttle damping must have been applied to pass the letter of the EC ‘drive-by’ noise test if not the spirit. But it is very momentary and, though irritating, I don’t think it is legally actionable as a ‘fault’.
Answered by Honest John
Why do modern cars like the Audi R8 have such bright LED headlights?
Mike Rutherford asks, "Who wouldn't love to own an Audi R8?" I wouldn't. Certainly if it caused a nuisance to other road users. I refer to its LED headlamps. Cars fitted with these eco-friendly lighting units seem to have sidestepped the facility of dipping. Many's the time I've been dazzled by them, dangerously so. My wife suggests I talk to the police. Before I do so, what's your view of LED headlights? Have they been risk-assessed?
LED DRLs are not headlights, they are Daytime Running Lights to enable cars on country roads to be seen so other cars do not pull out into their path. I agree, on many Audis the DRLs incorporated into the headlights as a bit of jewellery are a bit bright. On 2012 Jaguar XFs the DRLs in the headlights self-dim when the turn indicators are used. The best place for DRLs is separate and not over bright, as on the Fiat 500. Or set down low, as in Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Citroens, Fords and Kias. If you are severely dazzled by LEDs you might have an eye problem, so it's worth consulting a specialist at the risk he may ban you from driving.
Answered by Honest John

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