Audi R8 5.2 FSI Quattro Review
Blue Thunder

Story by Raymond Lai Photos by Yang and Raymond Lai
27 Dec 2009
 

Audi shoehorns the Gallardo’s V10 and instills some soul into the R8.

Soul searching

Driving the Audi R8 for the first time two years ago reminds me of the time when I first drove a Porsche 911. The way it feels and the way it behaves has an uncanny similarity to the iconic Porker. Being an Audi, the R8 also followed the footsteps of the 911 as a super car that you can use daily. But there was always something missing from the R8. The original 4.2 V8 model somehow lacked the soul and emotion that you’d find in a fiery Italian model.

Audi, of course, owns Lamborghini so it’s pretty much expected that it gets plenty of super car know-how from there. It was just a matter of time that it will launch a more powerful and exciting R8 and it did so earlier this year when the R8 V10 5.2 FSI was unveiled. For the new variant, Audi has shoehorned the Lamborghini Gallardo’s V10 heart into the engine bay of the R8.

More than two years on since its debut and the R8 has proven itself to be a timeless design as its techno and futuristic look has hardly shown any age. The exterior design is not only about aesthetics but it is functional as well – the R8’s slippery shape will help it slice through the air easily at high speeds.

Outwardly, the flagship R8 (for now at least) needs the eagle eyed to notice the design details that differentiate it from the lesser 4.2 V8. Up front, there are S-line style grey coloured radiator grille inserts, full LED headlamps with different lenses and air intakes with twin horizontal strakes instead of three. Along the sides, there are V10 badges on the flanks of the clamshell bonnet and a bulge on the distinctive side blades to channel more air into the engine bay. A distinctive feature of the V10 are the 19-inch ‘Y design’ alloy wheels – they look just fantastic. Like the air inlets at the front, the outlets at the rear have two horizontal wings instead of three on the V8 model. The rear also features darkened tail lamps, a black number plate surround, an under floor diffuser and twin oval tail pipes instead of the quad outlets on the V8. The car we drove also came with an optional carbon fibre lip spoiler. For the benefit of car spotters, the Sepang Blue hue of the car we drove is only available with the V10.

The V10’s minor and subtle differences from the V8 are a double edged sword for the R8. The minor differences might be good news for discreet types who don’t want to shout to the whole world that they’ve forked out an additional $150,000 or so for a range topping R8 but it can also turn off those who might not want to dish out the extra amount for a model that looks fundamentally similar to the entry- level car. Oh well, you can’t exactly please everyone, can you?


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Engine

Engine Capacity 5204cc
Engine Type V 10
Compression Ratio 12.5:1
Power 525bhp @ 8000rpm
Torque 530Nm @ 6500rpm
Power to Weight 336.5 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 3.9s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 316 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 7.3 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 6 -speed Manual Sequential
Drive Type M4

Measurements

Body Type Supercar
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4435 x 1930 x 1252) mm
Wheelbase 2650 mm
Kerb Weight 1560 kg

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Ventilated Discs