This two-seat mid-engine sports car is named after an Audi Le Mans-winning racecar and is available as a hardtop coupe or Spyder roadster. Like the Lamborghini Gallardo with which it competes, the R8 has a mid-mounted engine. It features a weight-saving aluminum body and Quattro all-wheel drive, and both the coupe and convertible are available with an optional V-10 engine.
(Skip to details on the: R8 Sypder)
New for 2012
A new top-level trim of the R8 is available this year. With only 333 scheduled to be built, the limited-edition GT model uses carbon fiber to trim 180 pounds and features a 560-horsepower version of Audi's 5.2-liter V-10 engine. The R8 GT comes only with the R tronic sequential gearbox, with each production unit number engraved on the shift knob. The GT model receives aerodynamic improvements including a carbon fiber front bumper as well as a full-width fixed carbon fiber rear spoiler. The interior has carbon fiber and Alcantara accents and the R8 GT badge throughout.
The R8's front end is dominated by air-intake grates and Audi's trapezoidal grille. Distinguishing features include sideblade air intakes behind the doors that route air to the engine. Rectangular LED taillights are standard, and a power-extendable rear spoiler provides additional downforce at high speeds.
The V-10 model gets larger side air intakes, unique rocker panel shaping, "V 10" front fender badges and a larger rear diffuser. Exterior features include:
- 19-inch alloy wheels standard
- Optional carbon fiber sideblade
- Optional LED headlights
- Transparent canopy in rear allows view of the engine
- Quad exhaust pipes on V-8 models
- Dual exhaust tips on V-10 models
The R8's two-person cabin has standard sport seats covered in leather or Alcantara simulated suede and leather. A navigation system with Audi's Multi Media Interface system is available. MMI controls vehicle settings via a knob and buttons on the center of the dashboard. Audi says there's room for two golf bags behind the seats. V-10 models get different instrument-cluster labeling. Interior features include:
- Standard six-CD changer
- Flat-bottom steering wheel for easier entry and exit
- Standard Bluetooth hands-free phone interface
- HomeLink garage-door opener
- Available carbon fiber interior trim
- Available Bang & Olufsen stereo
- Available backup camera
Under the Hood
The standard 4.2-liter V-8 engine makes 430 hp and 316 pounds-feet of torque. The base 5.2-liter V-10 makes 525 hp and 391 pounds-feet of torque. The version in the R8 GT makes 560 hp, and Audi claims a top speed of 199 mph.
The R8 has an adaptive four-wheel-independent suspension. Similar to GM's Magnetic Ride Control, the Audi Magnetic Ride system can pass an electrical charge through the shocks' fluid to instantly change its damping properties. The driver can select two modes — one geared toward performance and the other designed for comfort. Mechanical features include:
- Quattro all-wheel drive
- Standard six-speed manual transmission
- Optional six-speed R tronic sequential manual with automatic mode
- R tronic features Audi's launch control system
- R tronic can be shifted by console lever or steering-wheel paddles
Safety features include:
- Four-wheel-disc antilock brakes with traction control
- Electronic stability system
- Seat-mounted side-impact airbags
- Knee airbags
- Seat belt pretensioners
- Optional carbon ceramic brakes
Audi added a roadster version of its R8 supercar for the 2011 model year with the debut of the R8 Spyder. Like the coupe, the R8 Spyder comes with either a 4.2-liter V-8 or a 5.2-liter V-10 engine, and buyers have a choice of either a six-speed manual transmission or the six-speed R tronic sequential manual with paddle shifters.
The curvaceous lines of the R8 coupe haven't been compromised in its transformation to a convertible, and although the vents stretching rearward from the driver and passenger seats are neat design cues, it's a shame you can't see the mid-engine like you can in the hardtop R8. LED headlights are available.
For times when top-down motoring just won't do, the R8 Spyder has a power-operated soft-top that Audi claims can open or close in a swift 19 seconds. You don't have to be completely stationary for the top to work, either, as it's functional up to about 30 mph. Back to top