Audi R8 a supercar

and grand tourer

Audi R8 V10, 2019, front
Audi R8 V10, 2019, interior
Audi R8, front
Audi R8, rear

FOR the first time, I recently got my hands on Audi's amazing R8 and it has one of the best engines on the market today.

Of course, the base for it comes from the Lamborghini Huracan, so it really ought to be up there at the top of the tree.

It was always claimed that the R8 was a supercar that could also be used as an everyday commuter and, having sampled it, that is absolutely true and makes it one of the very best on the market.

The 5.2-litre mid-mounted V10 powerhouse drives all four wheels through a seven-speed automatic gearbox and it can be a cosseting grand tourer, smooth and reasonably quiet, giving a decently comfortable ride over most surfaces.

But unleash the dragon and it fairly hurtles you towards the middle of next week with a spine tingling soundtrack.

Most cars give of their best under 5,000 revs but this one only starts spitting fire about then and thunders on up to a staggering 8,100 before the limiter cuts in and the snarling exhaust really lingers in the memory.

For most of us mere mortals this is the stuff of dreams or nightmares, depending on your point of view.

Let's face it, even if you're an enthusiast like me, a top speed of 201 - yes 201 - miles an hour, is plainly ridiculous.

Even driving on a circuit, the fastest I have ever managed is 147 miles an hour, courtesy of a wonderful Jaguar F-type.

But this Audi, with 0 to 62mph in just 3.4 seconds, knocks it into a cocked hat, even though it's nowhere near as pretty to look at from any angle.

That's perhaps one of the problems with this car. Were I paying £128,000 for a super coupe, I would want it to look a little more seductive and special.

Whatever about its looks, the way it drives is sensational in every sense of that way overused word.

And that's partly due to the lightweight construction, using aluminium and carbon fibre as much as possible.

The level of four wheel drive grip, with the bias towards the rear wheels, is electrifying and of course, all wheel drive means that when the weather gets nasty, it's still perfectly useable.

The steering is pin sharp and delightfully tactile and the road-holding quite astonishing on dry roads during my drive.

The automatic gearbox does everything smoothly just as it should, and kicks down at exactly the right moment when needed. There is a manual mode, but I found that I couldn't improve on anything the automatic setting had done and therafter didn't bother with it.

As I mentioned above, for such an out and out supercar, the level of comfort is excellent, taking the majority of surfaces in its stride.

It is not a limousine, that's plain, but it is amongst the most comfortable cars in the class.

The talent continues on the inside, with a cabin that focuses everything towards the driver.

The virtual cockpit removes any need for different screens and controls, putting everything into the digital binnacle, just below the driver's sight line.

The leather seats are comfortable and supportive in every way, and even the switches have a firm and controlled feel as well as being good to look upon.

All of this adulation on my part masks the R8's one great flaw - its impracticality. It might be easy to live with every day as far as the driving experience is concerned, but a tiny boot and only two seats limit its usability for long journeys, unless you can arrange for your luggage to be sent on ahead.

FAST FACTS

Price:£128,295

Mechanical:570bhp, 5,204cc, 10cyl petrol engine driving four wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed:201mph

0-62mph:3.4 seconds

Combined MPG:22

Insurance Group:50

C02 emissions:293g/km

Bik rating: 37%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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