Power and control

Audi R8 Coupe V10 Performance

Model on test: £156,420

I first drove the ‘entry level’ R8 from Audi several years back and was suitably impressed with the balance of power and control. With a facelift and a more potent power unit, the questions I was really asking myself were whether my memory was accurate, and if the performance pack could actually add that much more to it.

I’ll come to my verdict on my memory later, but firstly I’ll answer the question about power and performance. Yes; yes it can. With slightly more than 600bhp being delivered to all four wheels thanks to Audi’s somewhat legendary Quattro system, the power is instant and, quite frankly, loud. Very loud.  The true sound test is whether my daughter likes it – she has a thing for a roaring exhaust – and her approval was evident when I took her to a school-friend’s birthday party.

So it’s fast and loud… what else?

Again, Audi have made an incredibly good looking car in my opinion. But that opinion was not universal – in the office there were two school’s of thought. On one hand, it had a lot of support and appeal to most of my team, but there were a few people who thought that it didn’t look quite nice enough… the subtext being that for the price tag, which is hefty, it should be better looking. On balance, I side with the majority who thought it was beautiful – in a powerful, hunkered down poised way. From almost every angle, it looked ready to go. The two massive exhausts to the rear and the understated grille at the front complimented by the air intakes being the doors (mid engined, after all) all make it look aggressive but sleek.

Inside the cabin is a lovely place with lots of leather and one of my favourite dashboards – complete with a great red start button on the steering wheel, and one of Audi’s other innovations, a tracepad on top of the control dial that you can use to ‘write’ your destination in the sat nav. The only issue I found with this is that you have to use your left-hand… and I’m right-handed, so it didn’t feel that intuitive.

But that’s ultimately a very minor thing in what is otherwise a truly amazing car. So was I impressed? Yes – every time I got in it. It’s rare to have that amount of power with four-wheel dive control and the safety net of one of Europe’s most renowned engineering powerhouses, but that’s what you get with the R8… power, control and a lot of noise. 

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