Thrilling performance. Breathtaking handling. Redesigned from the ground up, the second generation all-new R8 has arrived.
By James W Phillips
On a cold and wet Saturday morning, what better way to start my weekend than to be only the second person in Essex (UK) to drive the all new Audi R8 V10 Plus! With special 1-2-1 access courtesy of Southend Audi, I had an hour with this hotly anticipated SuperCar, which has replaced the much loved first generation Audi R8.
Greeted with a warm welcome as always by Matthew Le Chevalier and Ian Cooper , Southend Audi was the perfect location to introduce me to what could be my next SuperCar.
The new R8, just visible through the windows of the handover bay looked menacing, but as with all Audi’s – seductive.
So my first impressions as I walked through the door onto this new SuperCar were all the new design touches, and the contemporary styling. This will be a head turner on the road and I began comparing it to my R8.
There have been several immediate changes, the side blades cut in two, the chrome R8 badge to the filler cap, front end styling changes that have resulted in a more pronounced snout, following the current Audi trend for the angular shaped grill.
The rear end, which has been one of the main criticisms of the new design, is much more aesthestic in real life, and I can calm doubts that the change is so much better to look at in the flesh. The cooling mesh vents to the rear allow much clearer sight of the exhaust pipes and construction used.
The standard wheels on the V10 Plus (shown) were too small, however easily changed when ordering your spec.
Door access is provided by concealed handles which all add to making you feel special.
Boot space (at the front of course) is smaller than the existing R8. You can still fit in a couple of weekend bags or shopping, but not quite as much as before. Boot release and engine bay cover release all the same as the previous model.
One huge improvement, is the key, this follows the Lamborghini spec, and throughout the R8 there are echos to the Lamborghini partnership with Audi using several interchangeable parts.
The engine bay was a delight to look at, full carbon surround, with the noticeable addition of the cross stabilizer struts and engine bay lighting taken from the previous model. Power output is delivered by the 5.2 FSI V10, 7 speed S-Tronic delivering 540 break horse power for the standard V10 model and 610 for the V10 Plus. This is a high-revving 5.2. Lightweight Audi Space Frame® technology with the Audi S tronic® transmission capable of gear changes within hundredths of a second make this a very special car.
The cabin is typically Audi which means immense taste and class, with that new Audi smell. Build quality and luxury inside the cabin are again perfection and why the Audi brand is so popular. Contemporary and artistic design added to simple temperature controls dials and the LED lighting strips around the Bang and Olufsen speakers were just two of the highlights.
The standard seats in this particular model were very comfortable and held you firmly, but the most noticeable feature which strikes you as soon as you sit in the R8 is the steering wheel. This is the WOW factor and looks like something from StarWars!