For many years the R8 has been the pinnacle of Audi’s high performance and dynamic handling development, with all the technology then being passed on to the rest of the Audi family.
However, the new R8 V8 we tested had a mixed response from our team, and the reason is simple. The R8 was first released in 2006 and in seven years nothing has changed, it’s still exactly the same shape. Seven years ago the Ferrari 360 was still being produced and how dated does the 360 look compared to the 458 of today? The point I am trying to make is what could the Audi R8 look like today if it had been updated and redesigned? So far the changes made to the exterior are minimal with LED headlights, rear lights are now integrated with Knight Rider style turning signals and also LED lights above the engine compartment light up when a door opens. Not exactly blazing new trails in the design department.
In Audi’s defense, the changes made to the R8 over the years cannot be seen by eye. The performance has been dramatically enhanced with fuel consumption and emissions being slightly reduced. The R8 has been on a diet and dropped a few kg’s by using new stronger lightweight metals which also improve the cars rigidity.
The new seven speed Duel-clutch S tronic transmission works seamlessly and when sport mode is engaged the speed of the gear shift is instantaneous. The handling of the R8 is remarkable, all of the small improvements made over the years come together to give a solid driving experience.
Some more interesting upgrades to add to the new R8 is a dry sump lubrication, this enables the engine to be mounted lower, delivering much better handling due to a lower center of gravity. All of the wheels are mounted on aluminum wishbones finely tuned to give peak dynamic drivability whilst not compromising the comfort of the ride.
The interior of the car is disappointingly unremarkable and does not compare well with other contemporaries on the market. Though it does have great visibility all around and the rear view-parking sensor comes in very handy.
I have always been a fan of the R8 and will continue my admiration for the car. However, Audi really should be spending some time getting the aesthetics up to speed with their technological advancements. Will the V10 model be any better? We are testing it soon so keep a look out for our review.
AUDI R8 V8 COUPE LOWDOWN
Engine: 4.1 V8 FSI Producing 430bhp
Transmission: S tronic (7-speed)
Top speed: 300kph 0-100kph 4.3 seconds
Weight: 1.560 kg
Price: Starting from AED 430,000