Review: Audi R8 (2015)
Astonishingly quick yet easy to use as a daily driver. Comfortable and refined cabin. One of the few remaining V10 supercars.
Expensive to buy and maintain. Not much room for luggage. Your neighbours will soon grow weary of V10 themed wake-up calls...
Audi R8 (2015): At A Glance
- New prices start from £128,295, brokers can source from £112,347
- Insurance Groups are between 15–50
- On average it achieves 72% of the official MPG figure
At home on track or the supermarket run, the Audi R8 gentrifies the supercar experience by adding welcome helpings of everyday comfort and usability. The naturally aspirated V10 is the highlight of the show though, with its intoxicating vocals and high-revving nature providing a wonderful throwback to the heavyweight supercars of the 1990s.
The mid-mounted V10 is actually a carryover from the original R8. However, with the lighter aluminium chassis, that cuts 15 per cent from the kerb weight, Audi's second-gen supercar feels much more capable on track. The V10 provides more power and slightly more agreeable running costs too, up to 21.9mpg, thanks to the use of cylinder on demand tech that switches off five cylinders when they're not needed at low speeds.
On the downside, entry-level V8 models and the manual gearbox that made the original R8 such a supercar bargain are gone. This means you'll need to part with the region of £128,000 to get a new one.
On track the R8 is an accomplished and accommodating supercar, with its grippy four-wheel drive system and crisp throttle responses providing a great introduction to the world of high octane driving. Admittedly, the McLaren 570 provides a finer, faster, more technical experience, but doesn't match the R8's brutish V10 charms.
We’re more than a little disappointed that Audi hasn't utilised any of the hybrid know-how that has given it numerous motor sport victories, but the V10 is theatrical and brilliant. It starts up with a chorus of crackles and pops plus it thunders along at sub-30mph with surprising grace. You neighbours might not enjoy the daily V10 wake-up calls, but the R8 will appease flamboyant drivers who want their entire street to hear of their departure.
In 2018 the R8 received some light mid-life updates, with the 5.2-litre V10 FSI engine getting 570PS, which is a 30PS increase over the launch model. The range-topping V10 performance model also got a boost of 10PS, at 620PS. The suspension and steering was also revised, to provide more finesse in the handling department.
It might not be at the forefront of the supercar pack, but the Audi R8 is a universal starting point for those looking to enter the world of high performance exotica. Noisy, good looking and powered by one of the best engines in the business, the R8 is one of our favourite high performance all-rounders.
What does a Audi R8 (2015) cost?
Buy a used Audi R8 from £78,000
Audi R8 (2015): What's It Like Inside?
- Boot space is 112 litres
The cabin is arguably the best of any supercar, with lots of smart tech and acute attention to detail that make the R8 extremely easy to use on a day-to-day basis.
All the infotainment features - including DAB radio and navigation - are controlled through the Virtual Cockpit. This is a high-resolution 12.3-inch TFT display which replaces the instrument cluster and is controlled via the multi-function steering wheel or the MMI touch pad on the centre console.
It's very intuitive to use and means the rest of the cabin has a clean, premium feel without a large infotainment screen cluttering up the dash. In typical Audi style, the cabin feels very special without resorting to gimmicks.
The large windscreen and wide door mirrors make it easy to quickly acclimatise to the R8's dimensions. All models get a reversing camera, aiding parking, while the flat-bottomed steering wheel also makes it relatively easy for the driver to get in and out.
While the mid-mounted V10 sounds incredible when you want it too, left in Comfort mode at low revs it doesn't intrude into the cabin too much - and neither does its heat. That means you can cover long distances without having your senses battered by the harsh supercar elements. On the downside, storage is limited, with a 112-litre boot in the front and a small shelf located behind the driver.
Opting for the Spyder does make the cabin feel even cosier, especially for tall drivers. There's plenty of adjustment in the seat and steering wheel, though, meaning most drivers will find it easy to get comfortable.
Standard equipment (March 2019):
Audi R8 V10 features 19-inch alloy wheels, seven-speed S tronic transmission with hill hold assist and launch control, LED headlights and rear lights with dynamic rear indicators, Audi Drive Select dynamic handling system, electircally-adjustable heated folding door mirrors, automatic air conditioning, dual-branch oval tailpipes, Nappa Leather upholstery, fully automatic hood in a choice of three colours (Spyder), interior light pack including engine compartment lighting, light and rain sensor, MMI navigation plus, Audi phone box with wireless charging, parking system plus with reversing camera, Quattro permanent all-wheel-drive, heated sports seats with electric adjustment, three-spoke multifunction sports steering wheel, sports suspension, retractable rear spoiler (not on Spyder).
V10 Performance adds 20-inch alloy whees, ceramic brakes, extended inlays in gloss carbon, fine Nappa leather perforated upholstery, gloss black oval tailpipe trims, high-beam assist, large fixed rear spoiler in gloss carbon, matt titanium styling, bucket seats, plus Sport suspension, reduced size 73 litre fuel tank (80 litre on Spyder).
Child seats that fit a Audi R8 (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 (2015) like to drive?
- Engines range from V10 5.2 FSI quattro S tronic to V10 5.2 FSI quattro S tronic Spyder Performance
- Readers report Real MPG to be between 17–17 mpg
On the open road (and race track) the R8 is scintillating, with outstanding acceleration and a wonderful soundtrack that builds with the revs. In standard form, the 540PS V10 will complete the 0-62mph dash in 3.5 seconds, while the V10 Plus (with 610PS) will lower the sprint by 0.3 seconds. As with the previous R8, the engine is high-revving, smooth and exceptionally fast, with maximum power flowing all the way up to 8250rpm.
In 2018 the 5.2-litre V10 was given more power, with the standard model getting 30PS more (570PS) and the Performance edition getting an increase of 10PS (620PS). Straight-line speed remains relatively unchanged, although the Performance model will cover 0-62mph in 3.1 seconds. Audi also reworked the suspension and steering, which gives the facelifted model slightly sharper handling on track, although you'd be hard-pushed to tell the difference on the road.
The seven-speed S tronic automatic gearbox works extremely well with the V10, holding the gears in the corners and providing rapid changes as you push forward. The R8 is fitted with a set of driving modes that tailor the handling and exhaust note, but there's plenty of fun to be had in even the most sedate settings.
While the dynamic steering impresses, it still lacks the precision of the Porsche 911 and McLaren 570, with both feeling sharper with more feedback in the corners. However, we like how user-friendly the R8 is. Anyone can get in one and drive it quickly without feeling intimidated, while it's also relatively easy for driving around town and comfortable on the motorway.
The R8 also rides well and will easily cope with the roughest of surfaces. As a result it feels well prepared for Britain’s pothole laden roads.
The R8 is a lot flatter and more stable in the corners, compared to its rivals, which means it is very forgiving, even close to the limit, while the four-wheel drive system diverts up to 100 per cent of the power to the front or rear wheels within milliseconds.
Given the choice, we'd choose the V10 Performance with 620PS over the standard R8. It's sharper, faster and gets fade-resistant ceramic brakes as standard. Plus there's a set of bucket seats that are miles better than the standard set. The Performance also gets some exterior enhancements, with a large fixed rear spoiler.
It's surprising how much more dramatic the Spyder Performance feels compared to the coupe version. Dropping the roof adds a whole other level of drama, giving you the chance to hear the whole spectrum of noises from the wonderful V10 engine. There are little downsides, too - there's no noticeable change in handling and it only knocks a tenth of a second off the 0-62mph time.
|V10 5.2 FSI quattro Plus S tronic||21–23 mpg||3.2 s||287–289 g/km|
|V10 5.2 FSI quattro S tronic||22–25 mpg||3.5 s||272–275 g/km|
|V10 5.2 FSI quattro S tronic Performance||21–22 mpg||3.1–3.4 s||293–306 g/km|
|V10 5.2 FSI quattro S tronic Spyder||21–22 mpg||3.2–3.6 s||277–302 g/km|
|V10 5.2 FSI quattro S tronic Spyder Performance||21 mpg||3.2 s||302 g/km|
|V10 5.2 FSI quattro S tronic Spyder Plus||23 mpg||3.3 s||292 g/km|
|V10 5.2 FSI RWS S tronic||23 mpg||3.7 s||283 g/km|
|V10 5.2 FSI RWS S tronic Spyder||22 mpg||3.8 s||286 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Audi R8 (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.
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