Audi R8 Coupe V10

plus 5.2 FSI quattro

S tronic

Audi R8, front
Audi R8, front
Audi R8, front
Audi R8, front
Audi R8, side
Audi R8, rear
Audi R8, rear
Audi R8, interior

IT'S quite rare for me to consider packing a few belongings into a small holdall and disappearing off the radar in a car never to be seen again, but that thought crossed my mind more than once recently.

The reason is simple - I was driving the latest Audi R8, the German marque's fastest ever road car.

Gone are the V8 options and in their place for the second generation R8 line-up are two V10 powertrains in 5.2-litre guise.

The ‘standard' model delivers 532bhp, but the ‘plus' model has a whopping 602bhp which translates into a 0-62mph sprint of just 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 205mph.

Okay, performance like that does come with quite a hefty price-tag of £132,715 (£141,670 with options) but other supercars with similar performance capabilities will set you back a whole lot more.

The Audi R8 is a car that is guaranteed to turn heads wherever it passes and other drivers are actually quite courteous, possibly because they don't want to be shown up, but most probably because they want to follow the car and admire its beautiful craftsmanship.

That's because the R8 looks gorgeous from any approach thanks to the fantastic streamlining complemented by the low, wide stance.

There is a single honeycomb-design 3D shaped grille, 19-inch cast aluminium alloys, all LED headlights as standard with Audi Laser Light and high-beam assist as a £3,000 option, a fixed carbon rear spoiler, flat design rear lights with full LEDs and dynamic sweeping indicators, dual gloss black trapezoidal tailpipes and door handles that are integrated beneath the car's shoulder lines making them almost invisible to spot.

Step inside and the two-seater oozes premium class with all the sporty prowess you could wish for in the driver-focussed cockpit.

There is fine Nappa leather upholstery, a flat-bottomed three-spoke steering wheel, a pitch perfect Bang & Olufsen sound system along with Audi's latest 12.3-inch virtual cockpit technology which allows the driver to personalise the screen to show the likes of navigation, multi-media information, phone and lots of performance stats.

Starting the car means pressing a red button and nothing can really prepare you for that initial engine roar - and that's without touching the accelerator pedal.

There are driving modes to choose from and the super-slick seven-speed S tronic gearbox is beautifully responsive and smooth. The acceleration is blisteringly quick and when ‘dynamic' mode is activated the performance becomes even more exhilarating.

The noise can be deafening and you won't be very popular with your neighbours especially with the introduction of the sport exhaust system (£1,800 option) that really cranks up the volume.

There is no option for a manual gearbox on the latest generation R8, but steering wheel mounted paddles let you take a little more control whenever you want.

But, regardless of the incredible driving dynamics and breath-taking performance of the R8, two things really impressed me as I clocked up 300-plus miles.

Firstly, the car feels incredibly safe to drive. Despite being a supercar and offering outrageous performance capabilities, it feels grounded and controllable and has excellent all-wheel drive for extra grip.

Admittedly the visibility when reversing is terrible, but in a car like the R8 you will happily drive an extra 20 miles to the next roundabout rather than attempt a three-point turn.

The second feature of note is the car's many moods. Sure it can be a wild animal with all the roar and rasp you could wish for, but when the mood takes you the R8 can be incredibly sedate and comfortable.

There are not many supercars that are this secure to drive and despite sitting inches from the floor, the ride is great with excellent suspension.

FAST FACTS

Audi R8 Coupe V10 plus 5.2 FSI quattro S tronic

Price:£132,715

Mechanical:602bhp, 5,204cc, 10cyl petro engine driving four wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed:205mph

0-62mph:3.2 seconds

Combined MPG:21.9

Insurance Group: 50

C02 emissions:287g/km

Bik rating:37%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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