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Audi R8 5.2 FSI Quattro Review: Blue Thunder

Audi shoehorns the Gallardo’s V10 and instills some soul into the R8.
OneShift Editorial Team
OneShift Editorial Team
27 Dec 2009
What we like:
Stupendous performance
intoxicating V10 soundtrack
sublime handling
everyday usability
it is oneshift’s performance car of the year
What we dislike:
High price over the V8
doesn’t look different enough from the V8

A proper supercar shouldn’t just be about a set of statistics even if they usually post some impressive figures but in a decade or so, the performance of the Audi R8 V10 could well be easily eclipsed by a hot hatch.

So what makes a supercar well, super? It is the ability to transcend time and mindsets. A Lamborghini Countach for example will still turn as many heads today as it did when it rolled off the showroom floor 25 years ago. You also don’t have to be a car enthusiast to know that it is a special car. An Audi R8 can do all these things too.

Everyone keeps going on about how usable the Audi R8 is as a daily driver but I submit that supercars are not about practicality nor should they be easy to drive.

Sheldon’s take

If you are in a position to own a supercar, it is likely that there’ll be as three other cars in your driveway. So what’s the point of having a supercar that feels like a faster version of your daily drive?

Instead, like a high-end $50,000 CD player, a supercar needs to do only one thing. On the right time on the right road, the R8 flatters its driver and the added power and sound the V10 offers is akin to watching a movie on Blu-ray where the V8 base model is a DVD.

I’ll cut straight to the chase: the R8 V10 is damn good to drive. Though its high-revving V10 powerplant is 31kg heavier than the V8, it produces a good 100bhp more – to the tune of 525bhp at a stratospheric 8000rpm. The result: 0-100km/h in a scant 3.9 seconds, and a top speed of 316 km/h. Its poise is tactile, body control excellent and traction superb.

The Audi engineers have managed to improve the main niggle of the V8-engined R8, the R tronic automated manual is much smoother when in auto mode. However, the over-servoed brakes remain, and this is all that is needed to erode the confidence built up in the driver by the explosive engine, feelsome steering and sublime handling. What a bummer. CK LIM

CK’s take

Yang's take

Nobody likes getting a speeding ticket but if you had to choose a car, better a 525bhp mid-engine V10 that many have hailed as a true everyday supercar than some forgettable runabout.

The NSX was ­ and still is ­ my dream supercar. I¹ve never driven one but sat in in an automatic NSX back when policeman wore shorts. I think the ultimate supercar is one that not only one that can keep up with exotic dedicated machinery on a racetrack but be able to fend off challenges from 300++ bhp VW GTIs and the elk on real world roads.

The R8 has a strong rear bias- read dangerous in the wet and when intoxicated ­ despite being endowed with Audi¹s quattro drivetrain. This gives the car a lithe feel at the helm although I do wish for a quicker steering rack. The R-Tronic tranny is not DSG/S-Tronic quick and requires a well-timed lift of the right foot to achieve the flawless gear change. Fast it is, subtle it¹s not.

Inside and mechanically, the Audi R8 V10 is close to perfect. Loads of carbon fibre abound, a superb driving position that give good visibility to all quarters, and a truly sublime ride. In 'normal', the magnetic dampers make the R8 ride like an A6 but you can switch to sport and get a much busier ride a la EVO/GTR.

As for the engine, power builds from down low and doesn¹t taper off even at its 8700rpm redline. And a soundtrack that is better than a Japanese AV star¹s vocals - Just don¹t try experiencing it in the KPE tunnel. YANG

Credits: Story by Raymond Lai Photos by Yang and Raymond Lai

Audi R8 5.2 FSI Quattro
Cars in this article
Audi R8 5.2 FSI Quattro (A) 2011

Audi R8 5.2 FSI Quattro (A) 2011

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