New Audi R8 gives

you wings

Audi R8, red, front
Audi R8, red, side
Audi R8, yellow, front, action
Audi R8, yellow, side, action
Audi R8, yellow, rear, action
Audi R8, yellow, engine bay
Audi R8, yellow, cockpit

START saving now: supercars like the Audi R8 won't be around for ever ⦠and you really do need to try one before all the petrol runs out and we have to drive round in shale gas-powered milkfloats.

Of course, there's a bit of a Catch 22 involved here, as it's supercars like the R8 that are using most of the petrol in the first place, but let's overlook that for now.

This is the new R8 V10 we're talking about, a reboot of the original R8 that took on the mighty Porsche 911 for the slightly oxymoronic title of 'Best Everyday Supercar'.

In fact, this is the R8 V10 plus - which, as the name suggests, is meatier, beatier, bigger and bouncier than the standard R8 V10.

While the R8 produces a very acceptable 540ps from its 5.2-litre V10, its plus-size sibling puts out a whopping 610ps.

While 70 extra horses is quite a lot, particularly if you're planning a cavalry charge, in real terms the R8 V10 plus is only 0.3 seconds faster from 0-62mph than the standard car.

And the standard car does it in 3.5 seconds, so maybe those extra horses need some extra oats.

Top speeds are 198mph and 205mph respectively, both unattainable unless you have your own runway, but it's always nice to have the best hand in a game of Supercar Top Trumps.

These figures also show how far Audi have come - who, even 10 years ago, would have imagined a 200+mph Audi supercar that's just as good at pottering down to Tesco's as it is at scaring racing cars?

The new car has a more slender, curvaceous profile than its predecessor. It looks longer (although it's actually a few millimetres shorter), and its form is more elegant and refined - sexier, even.

Part of the reason for this is that the old car's distinctive sideblades, while still present on the new model, are split in two by a line running from the door-top back to the rear arches. It lightens the car beautifully and makes it look more like the handbuilt supercar that it is.

Inside, the most powerful Audi road car ever boasts the company's most gorgeous interior yet. This is a driver-focussed cockpit that is just a joy to sit in: acres of leather, alcantara and carbon fibre swoop around you as you sit behind the flat-bottomed wheel.

On the wheel, there are buttons to control the Audi drive select system, switch on the performance mode, and even adjust flaps on the exhaust to make it sound more like an angry lion, rather than just a standard lion.

The virtual cockpit first seen on the new TT puts all the dials, sat nav (including Google Earth), multimedia and all the other electronic gubbins of a modern car right in front of you on a big 12.3" screen that you can configure yourself.

Press the start button, select first gear in the 7-speed S-tronic transmission (no manuals, this time, as only 1% of customers opted for it on the old car) and let the power from the normally-aspirated V10 grab the road via the standard quattro four-wheel-drive system and some very tasty 19-inch wheels.

It's an unforgettable moment as you floor the throttle and the horizon shoots towards you at the kind of speed that once only superbike riders could imagine.

Push the car into some challenging, slippery bends and the quattro system and those big tyres keep on gripping. The car inspires enormous confidence, despite its huge power, and as long as you don't need more from the supermarket than will fit in a couple of Bags For Life, you can happily take the R8 shopping - just slow right down for the car park speedbumps.

Enjoy that performance and you'll need to fill up frequently, though - the manufacturer claims a combined mpg figure of 23.9. Presumably that was achieved by a slipper-wearing German octogenarian. Put a normal person behind the wheel and the figure will be more like the 12-18mpg we recorded.

That's all academic though - if you can afford this car, you can afford the petrol.

But can you afford the car? Well, at £119,500 on the road for the V10 and £134,500 for the V10 plus, not many people will be able to. You'll also want to add some extras, like the brilliant adaptive LED/laser headlights that could pick out a pebble on the moon but which cost an extra £3,000.

For those with the cash, this really is an everyday supercar - all the reliability and dependability of an Audi saloon but with the body and soul of a racing car.


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