Audi R8 2015 -

Review

Audi R8, 2015, front, action
Audi R8, 2015, nose
Audi R8, 2015, rear
Audi R8, 2015, rear, action
Audi R8, 2015, wheels
Audi R8, 2015, speedo
Audi R8, 2015, steering wheel
Audi R8, 2015, interior
Audi R8, 2015, engine

IN 2007 I tested the original Audi R8 V8 and to say I was impressed is an understatement.

Of the hundreds of new cars I have driven over the past 20 or so years Audi's high performance two-seater has always been near the top of my list.

So does the new 2015 R8 V10 live up to its predecessor? A resounding yes!

It's a true super car which offers outstanding performance, a thrill-a-minute driving experience and yet is as easy to drive around town as a Ford Fiesta.

The new Audi R8 V10 is even more powerful and faster than the original, with the naturally aspirated engine producing 533bhp in the standard version and a stunning 602bhp in the R8 V10 Plus version.

The Plus version I drove on a very wet launch exercise in France can hit a claimed top speed of 205mph and accelerates from rest to 62mph in a mind-blowing 3.2 seconds putting the Audi well into the super car bracket.

The R8 V10 Plus is the fastest and most powerful production road car Audi has ever produced, and it felt like it as soon as I got behind the wheel.

It's engine is mated to the trusty Audi seven-speed S tronic gearbox which changes up and down with incredible speed and smoothness, either in automatic or paddle shift use.

When you floor the throttle the Audi literally pins you back in the racing style seats and leaps forward with no lag or delay with the four exhausts sending out a cacophony of screaming noise which splutters and bangs when you lift off. Great fun!

The new R8 costs a lot so I don't think wealthy owners will be too worried about fuel cost, but to improve economy the latest V10 engine gains indirect fuel injection to complement its FSI direct petrol injection, and also features cylinder on demand technology for the first time.

When appropriate the system shuts off one of the two cylinder banks by deactivating injection and ignition.

The R8 V10 can return up to 24.8mpg with CO2 emissions of 272 g/km - equivalent values for the R8 V10 plus are 23mpg and 287 g/km. These figures represent an improvement in fuel economy of up to 13 per cent.

The behind-the-wheel experience was fantastic. Even on rain-soaked roads close to the Paul Ricard circuit in Provence the all-wheel-drive quattro system kept the R8 planked firmly on the tarmac even when hitting tight bends at a fair rate of knots.

Not once did I detect any back end slid or loss of grip.

You have several ways of changing the driving options through the Audi drive select system which offers the driver a choice of four modes (comfort, auto, dynamic and individual) to control suspension and performance features.

On top of that, there is also a new performance mode (available as an option for the V10 and standard for the V10 plus). The driver activates it by pressing a separate button on the steering wheel and you can select between the programs dry, wet and snow using a rotary wheel.

Both versions of the new R8 are fitted with 19-inch wheels in exclusive designs as standard, and in the V10 Plus these are combined as standard with ceramic brake discs offering even better stopping power.

On the outside, the V10 is equipped with an electrically extending spoiler, while the R8 V10 plus gains a large fixed rear wing in carbon sigma, matching the finish of its heated and folding exterior mirrors, sideblades, front spoiler lip and rear diffuser.

Inside, the R8's multifunctional, F1 style, flat-bottomed steering wheel has an array of buttons which are used to control several of the features of the car and it is set behind the Audi's virtual cockpit 12.3-inch display panel which doubles up as a sat nav, smartphone, Wi-Fi and several other driving aids.

Another option for the new R8 V10 is improved headlights which can be fitted with laser LED spots for the high beams, which give an extended field of vision and increased brightness and are accompanied by 'dynamic' indicators which scroll across the lamp cluster in the direction of the signal.

As I said, the R8 V10 Plus is not cheap and the one I drove had stacks of optional equipment taking the price to £153,560. In 'basic' form the price is £134,500 and the R8 V10 comes in at £119,500.

If you are in the lucky position to be able to afford it you won't be disappointed - it's fantastic.

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