By for Audi R8 2016-11-12 19:49:31.0
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5 ⁄ 5
  • Appearance
  • Performance
  • Comfort
  • Value For Money
  • Fuel Economy
  • Overall Satisfaction

When the original Audi R8 launched in 2006, it caused a sensation. While Audi had earned a strong reputation in motorsport, first in rallying, then at the Le Mans 24 Hours, it hadn't ventured into the realm of supercars. But the first car was such a success, first with a V8 and later in V10 guise, that it had to launch a second-generation model.

From the outside, the R8 Mk2 is an evolution of the original car. The lines are sharper, with more straight edges, while the original car's side blades are carried over. Step inside, and the R8's interior has been given a more radical makeover, with Audi's nExtensive use of aluminium in the R8’s structure has allowed Audi's engineers to reduce weight by around 15 per cent over the old car, while the familiar, naturally aspirated 5.2-litre V10 has been tweaked to deliver an astonishing 602bhp – that's 40bhp more than a McLaren 570S. This powerplant is paired with a seven-speed twin-clutch S tronic gearbox that drives all four wheels via a new quattro transmission.

Press the red starter button on the steering wheel, and the V10 barks into life with enough noisy violence to set off car alarms and startle passers-by - if it’s attention you’re after, then this engine delivers it in spades. The engine’s 560Nm torque figure means it can’t match its rivals here for mid-range muscle, but it’s got them well beaten for aural drama.

From its deep growl at low revs through to the thrilling metallic howl as you close in on the 8,500rpm red line, it sounds every bit as exciting as you’d expect from a supercar. Go for the £1,800 optional Sports exhaust, and there's even more volume added to the glorious mechanical orchestra.ew hi-tech Virtual Cockpit taking pride of place ahead of the driver.

The R8’s predecessor came with either a V8 or V10 engine, but currently there's just a V10 on offer in the second generation. It has 533bhp as standard, while the R8 V10 Plus has been pumped up to 602bhp. And then there's the R8 V10 Spyder, the open-top model that allows you to savour that engine note even more.

The old car's H-pattern manual hasn't made it to the new model, as it just comes with a seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch gearbox. But quattro four-wheel drive has been retained, while the R8 has an extensive range of electronic driving aids that help make the most of the car's power. Go for the V10 Plus, and you can expect a 0-62mph time of just 3.2 seconds. This is identical to the Lamborghini Huracan, which essentially uses the same running gear as the R8.Prices for the R8 start from around £120,000, while the V10 Plus adds a £15,000 premium to that. However, you could easily spec up a £200,000 car by going wild with the options. Adaptive magnetic ride dampers are an essential, while the electromechanical steering system can be ordered with variable ratio software and a huge variety of driving modes let you tailor the car’s behaviour.Purists will mourn the loss of a manual gearbox, but the twin-clutch S tronic auto is so capable in every situation that's easy to forgive and forget. At low speeds you barely feel the shifts, but fire through a full-bore upshift in performance mode and Audi has engineered in a little kick in the back to make the full-throttle driving experience that much more visceral. The twin-clutch box rips through shifts, and it delivers delicious throttle blips on the way down, too.

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