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Audi has just kindly graced the world with its next version of the R8. A superb vehicle, that although is not going to arrive in anyone’s garage anytime before 2016, has already gotten a lot of people talking. Yet, while the specs certainly look good, it’s the intimate experience with the car that meets the precise point of curiosity.
We therefore recruited Luxuria’s own, in-house automotive experts to give us the low down of their experience getting acquainted with this new-super-cool-kid-on-the-black-tarmaced-block. Ken Pine takes a look under the hood, Roger McGarth gives us the tech specs, George Andrews rates the look and finally Andrei Tablang spins the wheels of this supercar to report on the drive.
George: I am reserving the privilege to have my input first, after all, if it’s first impressions that last, then let’s get superficial and start with a discussion of just the appearance of the new Audi R8. While not all that dissimilar from its predecessor with its characteristic side blades, it still certainly comes off looking sleeker with an emphasis on a flat and wide muscular build. Audi wisely chose to keep the glass panel over the engine, so it is possible to take a glance at the genius of its mechanics from the outside, which I quite liked.
The inside cabin has certainly been refined with a number of improvements. Firstly, the displays are now all digital and the important control functions have been centralised in button clusters on the steering wheel. The upholstery uses quality materials, that has a more comfortable feel compared to say a Lamborghini. Once sitting in the cockpit, you have the distinct impression of being at the wheel of a racing car, which all in all was probably the highlight for me.
Ken: After taking a sneak peak under the hood of the updated Audi R8, I feel confident telling you that all the hyped up acclaim is probably substantiated, if not a tad mellow. This car really is impressive, more powerful with a 5.2 liter V10 engine, significantly lighter as it comprised more of carbon fiber and built with more horsepower; the cumulative effect makes this car much faster. In fact the high performance version will see you blasting from 0-100 km/h in just 3.2 seconds and will reach a maximum speed of 330, if you can just find a road to do that on.
The engine is located behind the driver, in what Audi considers a “mid-mounted engine”. Whilst this was designed apparently to enhance the drive force, it doesn’t allow for the usual amount of space in a rear storage compartment, rather the trunk is located at the front leaving enough room for just a duffle bag or two. If you can overlook this potential practical issue, the revamped V10 engine also includes a four wheel drive mode and ceramic brakes that deliver a very smooth and precise stop.
Roger: And now I think this is where things start to get exciting. The updated Audi R8 sports LED headlights with a laser option, this allows for the lights to automatically drop down when cars are approaching from the opposite direction. With a link up to sat-nav, the headlights are also able to turn so that they illuminate bends in advance for enhanced night vision. The screen directly in front of the driver displays all the available data in a “virtual cockpit”. Drivers are free to design their own screens, allowing them to select the type of display and emphasize all the data that they would like shown to them in a drive, such as navigation, infotainment options and the car’s fuel consumption, to name just a few. Drivers are also able to select “dry”, “wet” or “snow” programs that will launch the four wheel drive system, this ensures driver safety as the car will adjust to the appropriate mode for the surrounding condition. Truth be told though, the car is designed to do this automatically, without any “help” from the driver.
Andrei: Whilst all the specs on paper may look good, what really gives a car a glowing reputation is the pure joy of the drive, and that’s where the new Audi honestly shines. This next generation R8 feels more suited to the race track than it does the public motor way, yet despite saying this, the drive at normal speeds is remarkably quiet and relaxing. Just keep in mind as you pass by your local shops that any sudden push on the accelerator turns this mild mannered car into a highly exhilarating and exceptionally fun car to drive with an exuberant roar. This car really warrants being taken out for a long distance spin where higher speeds can be reached, as it’s just such an easy car to drive extremely fast. The power delivery is very linear, so you know what to expect as it races ahead. The gear shifts are lightning fast, so fast that they are actually difficult to distinguish, which, if you like that feel of being in control of the vehicle, I suppose could be a downside. Yet with little understeer, solid brakes and a thoroughly engaging and lively mid engine car behaviour, the new R8 certainly makes for an entirely fun car to drive.
With these verdicts, you can now be rest assured that the latest Audi R8 is everything you would hope it to be. It’s a machine designed for speed, that immediately pumps into action with revs and shrieks as soon as you switch on the ignition. But don’t just take our word for it, rent the Audi R8 in Germany on a limitless drive on the Autobahn or in Italy in a scenic tour of the Amalfi coast. After all these things really ought to be verified by oneself.
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