Audi R8 Coupe 4.2

FSI quattro S tronic

Audi R8 Coupe, side
Audi R8 Coupe, rear
Audi R8 Coupe, interior
Audi R8 Coupe, front
Audi R8 V10 Coupe, interior

FEW cars can draw a crowd like the stunning Audi R8 and that's before you even fire up the ignition and unleash the mighty 4.2-litre 430ps engine.

That's because this beautifully-sculpted supercar boasts all the dynamic styling you could dream of along with performance capabilities that are certainly not for the faint-hearted.

With a history that is steeped in Le Mans glory plus an impressive line-up of design awards, there's no denying the R8 is one of the finest looking vehicles to grace our roads.

It simply oozes class and looks fantastic from any angle with its exceptionally low and wide sporty stance.

There are flared air vents, two extra-large round exhaust pipes, 19-inch alloys, a retractable rear spoiler, LED headlights with a sweeping rear indicator function that lights up gradually in the direction you are turning.

And for anyone brave enough to get close up to the car, there's an eight-cylinder engine that can be viewed through the rear window. It gives a whole new meaning to Play School's "And through the square window!"

Inside the car and there's no doubting you have climbed into a supercar.

The sports seats are very supportive, there are stainless steel pedals, a three-spoke, flat-bottomed sports steering wheel with gear shift paddles and R8 embossed on the bottom (just in case you should forget).

And there are creature comforts and techno treats galore to be explored - which you would expect in an £100,000 vehicle. These include heated seats, sat nav, Bluetooth connectivity, a brilliant sound system, SD card and DVD slots, cruise control, air conditioning, a clear a precise instrument cluster so you can keep a very watchful eye on the speed.

But one feature that is noticeable by its absence though is electric seats. Although there are not that many ways to adjust the seat, it would be nice to be able to simply press a button rather than reaching under the seat for grab handles.

But that aside, the richly-equipped cabin is beautifully laid out and all controls, dials and readouts are ideally positioned for ease of use. The low-slung driving position is actually fairly comfortable considering how close to the ground you are and the all-round visibility is also surprisingly impressive.

That said, all-round parking sensors are a real bonus especially when squeezing into tight spaces. And it's also worth remembering to always park in wide bays as the doors are very long and need plenty of width.

Storage options are not that bad either with room under the bonnet and space behind both seats for a couple of large holdalls.

But in all honesty, practicality is not really that high on the priority list for anyone contemplating splashing out on an R8. The key factor really is handling and performance and this car is an instant hit on both counts.

Turn the ignition key and the powerful 4.2-litre engine bursts into life. And with the slightest pressure on the throttle the engine's roar is a hint at what's in store.

This is a car that loves to be driven and the twistier and tighter the bends, the better. It displays generous levels of poise and traction no matter how hard it's pushed.

The acceleration is blisteringly fast - 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds - and for anyone feeling extra brave there is a sport button that really cranks up the volume, increases the rev count between gear shifts and adds plenty of fizz and crackle to the exhaust system.

The test car also featured Audi Magnetic Ride (£1,175 option) and this system adjusts the suspension's dampers to suit the current driving position.

And as one would expect, the car boasts a whole host of class-leading safety innovations so all occupants are kept as safe as possible.

All in all, the Audi R8 is possibly one of the finest vehicles on our roads today. Its limited practicality and, at times, hard ride won't suit all tastes and requirements, but there's no denying it's a fantastic piece of kit.

FAST FACTS

Audi R8 Coupe 4.2 FSI quattro S tronic

Price: £94,900

Mechanical: 430ps, 4,163cc, 8cyl petrol engine driving four wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed:186mph 

0-62mph:4.3 seconds

Combined MPG: 22.8

Insurance Group: 50

C02 emissions: 289g/km

Bik rating: 35%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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