Audi R8 Coupe V10

Reliable super?

First of all, lets get the numbers on the table. Spoiler alert, they’re all big. Five point two litres, ten cylinders, four wheel drive and 540 horsepower on tap, intelligently delivered to whichever wheels can make best use of it.

And they most certainly do make good use of it. This car can really move… I was very happy with it being an automatic, the Audi S Tronic gearbox is a delight – quick, smooth and there was no way I could have made the gear changes as swiftly in a manual box. Maybe if you’re taking it on track days, you might make more use of a manual, but for me, the automatic was perfectly acceptable!

I think that’s an important distinction there… let me be clear. This car would be absolutely amazing on a track – remember it’s built on the Lamborghini Gallardo platform (one of Audi’s more shrewd purchases there I think) so it was never going to be a slouch and with acceleration figures all sub 4 seconds to 62mph regardless of which model you choose, this is very much a supercar.

But supercars are of course notoriously unreliable… and Audi is notoriously reliable. So which way would this go? In fairness I only had the car for a week (and a very noisy week it was too, but more about that later) and it never missed a beat. It made me smile, but at the same time flinch. Primarily because when you press the starter it revs all the way to 8,000 before settling down to a rumble, but that quick blip will certainly wake the neighbours on a quick 7am run to the shop for milk (sorry guys!)

I loved this car – the sense of theatre was ever-present. The starter, the noise and power of acceleration, the fierce brakes and the snarl on a downshift felt like there was fire shooting from the exhausts… i don’t think there was but it certainly felt like it. The car in a single word would be visceral.

There were drawbacks. Getting in wasn’t easy, but you got the hang of it. Visibility? Actually not that bad, but when you look in the rear mirror there is a tendency to be distracted by the reflection of the massive V10 that’s behind the cabin! You can’t go anywhere subtly, and the boot (under the bonnet) is… well, small doesn’t really cover it… I’ll give an example. The photographer who shot this car with me had a modest sized camera kit in a backpack. We squeezed this in the “luggage compartment”, with some considerable shoving and that was it. Full. No space for anything else!

But you don’t buy this car for long road trips with the family, and you could probably pack for a long weekend, just not much more than that.

I guess there’s one other figure I should mention… the fuel economy. As you’d expect, this was not fantastic… I averaged a little over 12mpg over the course of the week, but if you’re buying a car that costs an eighth of a million pounds, that kind of fuel figure probably isn’t going to be a concern.

So… the big question. If I had the budget, would I buy this as a regular use car? No – I couldn’t justify the extra (yes, extra) £80k on the TT Roadster from Audi I tested earlier in the year. For everyday driving, it’s not actually that much faster – you just hit the speed limit a little bit quicker. And the extra boot space the TT gives has to make a difference.

But if you’re looking for a supercar that can keep pace with the best of the big names on a track but that promises reliability as well as performance, look no further. If i had the opportunity to drive one again, I wouldn’t pass it up, that’s for sure!

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