Audi R8 Coupe V10

quattro 620ps

performance S tronic

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

THE Audi R8 is a supercar anyone can drive and, what's more, it's a car you'll want to drive as often as possible such is the joy it brings.

Ironically, it arrived a couple of days before the Covid-19 lockdown so spent a couple of weeks just sat outside the house brooding. Testament to its kerb appeal, it became a local tourist attraction, so much so I lost count of the people who stopped to admire, gawp and take the obligatory selfie.

Some even stopped their own cars to take photos. And, so they should, after all, with its naturally-aspirated V10, the R8 is almost certainly a dying breed as we move towards all-electric and hybrid sports models.

The R8 was originally launched in 2007 to almost universal acclaim, was much improved in 2015, and the Performance model here is the fastest and most powerful production Audi in history.

Inside, the cockpit is classy and modern, featuring Audi's class-leading 12.3-inch digital display and a flat-bottomed steering wheel with all the ‘important' buttons gathered simply together.

This includes the all-important red starter button which roars the R8 noisily into life, plus the Drive Select switch, which offers the driver a choice of four modes - comfort, auto, dynamic and individual - to control the way in which the steering, transmission etc, operate.

On top of that, there's the track mode which drivers activates by pressing a separate button on the steering wheel. It's exhilarating, but best left for the track.

For a supercar, the cabin has a fair bit of handy storage, including a large glovebox and shallow and a 226-litre parcel shelf behind the front seats. However, the deep boot in the nose can only take 112 litres, enough for two small weekend bags.

The V10 powerplant is an absolute peach and it sounds delicious. The reason for that, of course, is that the R8 is one of the last remaining mid-engined supercars that is neither turbocharged nor supercharged, and, as we all know, naturally aspirated cars sound better.

The R8 is one hell of a lot of fun, but true to its ‘everyday supercar' roots, it is also a stylish cruiser when you need it to be.

Get on the motorway, whack 70mph into the cruise control, and the R8 motors along nicely. Yes, there's a little bit of tyre noise from those 20-inch wheels but somehow Audi has magicked away the sound of the V10 even though it's just a few inches from your ears.

It may be a 200-plus mph beast, but in comfort mode it is positively benign. She may not be the demographic Audi is looking for but my 78-year-old mother could easily drive it - and, more importantly - get in and out of it without help.

The ride isn't over-firm and the cabin's sports seats are surprisingly comfortable. You can easily drive the R8 for two or three hours without having to be lifted out and carried to your door afterwards.

That V10 likes to drink - especially if you use the revs to hear that glorious soundtrack. It officially returns up to 21.4mpg though over nearly 1,000 miles I averaged 17.1mpg. However, on the motorway, 25mpg can easily be managed if you can resist playing with the accelerator and, on my daily commute - an 18-mile round trip, it would achieve 20mpg.

The seven-speed automatic gearbox also works seamlessly in partnership with the V10 engine, delivering up or downshifts faster than you could ever manage manually, even though paddleshifts are included.

Audi's quattro four-wheel drive system transmits the R8's power to the road with even greater adaptability to the driving conditions and -in extreme cases - 100 per cent of the torque can be transmitted to the front or rear axle. Grip is exceptional and, though it's a cliché, it almost seems like it's on rails. The R8 is extremely composed whether the road surface is wet or dry .

FAST FACTS

Audi R8 Coupe V10 quattro 620ps performance S tronic

Price: £142,665

Mechanical:612bhp, 5,204cc, 10cyl petrol engine driving four wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 205mph

0-62mph:3.1 seconds

Combined MPG:21.4

Insurance Group:50

C02 emissions: 298g/km

Bik rating:37%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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