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Audi R8 V10 and V10 Plus 2016 review

EXPERT RATING
8
Peter Barnwell road tests and reviews the Audi R8 V10 and R8 V10 Plus with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

Peter Barnwell road tests and reviews the Audi R8 V10 and R8 V10 Plus with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

Audi's V10 is blindingly quick and astonishingly well-mannered... and the engine note is awesome.

Here's a curly one. Given the readies, would you spend nearly $390,000 on a new Audi R8 V10 Plus or outlay another $30K for Lamborghini's new Huracan LP610-4.

They come from the same conglomerate, the VW-Audi group, so there's inevitable component and tech sharing.

One is pretty much sex on wheels — the Lambo — and the Audi is a practical person's supercar. The R8 is easy to drive every day, reliable, rather conservative to look at compared to the Huracan but every bit as evocative when you are behind the wheel.

Throw in free servicing for the first three years under warranty and the R8 could possibly have an edge.

It's composed, engaging, comfortable, stylish all-round and the engine note is awesome. 

There's also the fact the R8 has real motorsport cred — the fastest production Audi ever, it's the basis of the company's GT3 racer — while Lambo has no factory commitment to racing.

We'd go the R8 because it's such a cracking good thing. It's composed, engaging, comfortable, stylish all-round and the engine note is awesome. It arrives after five iterations of the first model and is sold here only with V10 power.

Audi has two versions, R8 Coupe and Coupe Plus, with different engine outputs, each sensational in every respect. They come out of a new purpose built factory in Germany run by Quattro GMBH, Audi's answer to Benz's AMG tuning hothouse.

  • 2016 Audi R8 V10 Plus | Australian Launch 2016 Audi R8 V10 Plus | Australian Launch
  • 2016 Audi R8 V10 Plus | Australian Launch 2016 Audi R8 V10 Plus | Australian Launch
  • 2016 Audi R8 V10 Plus | Australian Launch 2016 Audi R8 V10 Plus | Australian Launch
  • 2016 Audi R8 V10 Plus | Australian Launch 2016 Audi R8 V10 Plus | Australian Launch
  • 2016 Audi R8 V10 Plus | Australian Launch 2016 Audi R8 V10 Plus | Australian Launch
  • 2016 Audi R8 V10 Plus | Australian Launch 2016 Audi R8 V10 Plus | Australian Launch
  • 2016 Audi R8 V10 Plus | Australian Launch 2016 Audi R8 V10 Plus | Australian Launch

Shorter, wider and sharper than the predecessors, the R8 has what Audi describes as "tauter lines" with more "tension" to its flanks. We agree.

There's no longer a rear-drive variant. The all-wheel drive includes a new torque splitting setup.

Brakes are wave steel or ceramic discs, with six-piston front calipers and four-piston rears. The lower spec car runs on 19-inch wheels with "magnetic ride" suspension and the Plus is on 20s with adjustable sports suspension. The 200kg monocoque is a composite of aluminium castings, extrusions, pipes and sheet, with carbon-fibre for the central tunnel and much of the rear subframe.

The hi-tech 5.2-litre V10 is naturally aspirated with dual fuel injection. A development of the previous engine, it has cylinder deactivation to save fuel, seamlessly shutting down one bank of five cylinders sequentially to maintain operating temperature. Three radiators cool the mechanicals.

What a beast. The sound of it almost makes you swoon.

Rapid gear changes — of the kind you'd expect in a video game — come courtesy of the seven-speed dual clutch transmission. When demanded, the kickdown is ferocious.

Trimmed in Nappa leather, the cabin is entirely new. The seats' side bolsters seem designed for slimmer figures. Audi's virtual dash, combining digital instruments and information screens, is in the driver's forward field of vision.

On the road

What a beast. The sound of it almost makes you swoon.

As with the previous model, the R8 is the pinnacle of Audi's production car aspirations and is fitted with all the good gear the company makes or designs.

This combines to deliver a superlative drive, with blindingly quick acceleration and super composed sports dynamics that don't demand a kidney belt. The electric steering is pin-sharp, the double wishbone suspension never falters even on bumpy, high-speed off-camber corners and the chassis feels rock solid.

And brakes, what about the brakes? We drove examples with steel and carbon discs and couldn't pick the difference. Neither had any fade at all, even on the fast Snowy Mountains descents. The electronic driving modulations were unobtrusive — if anything, they enhanced the drive experience.

Verdict

You tick most of the luxury boxes with the R8, an impressive package with no adverse temperament and no huge service hit. It makes you feel and look good, all the time.

What's new

Price - Audi sliced $17,000 from the Plus, now $389,900. The “lower spec" version is $354,900. Audi says the car loses nothing in terms of equipment as the price cut is due to economies of scale and other savings ex-factory.

Technology - Completely new model: powertrain, quattro drive, interior, virtual instruments, composite chassis, exhaust, magnetic ride, touchscreen with satnav, Bang & Olufsen audio, parking assist with reverse camera — and that’s on regular R8. The Plus adds power and torque, 20-inch alloys, sports tuned suspension, multi-function wheel and sports seats, extra carbon-fibre design elements and performance mode in drive select.

Performance - Power and torque are now 397kW/540Nm in the R8 and 449kW/560Nm in the Plus. 0-100 times are 3.5 seconds and 3.2 seconds respectively.

Driving - Engine upgrade makes both cars sing. It’s basically as used in Audi’s GT3 racer but with different fuel injection — which makes both road cars absolutely rip in acceleration. It’s all capably controlled in terms of handling and drive feel through finely honed dynamics.

Design - Looks similar to the original model but differs in every detail inside and out, from grille to tail-lights. It has up to 140kg downforce at high speed.

 

Would you prefer to cruise in an R8 or a Huracan? Let us know in the comments below.

Click here to see more 2016 Audi R8 pricing and spec info.

Pricing Guides

$259,800
Based on 9 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$234,800
Highest Price
$274,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Spyder 4.2 FSI Quattro 4.2L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $184,470 – 212,080 2016 Audi R8 2016 Spyder 4.2 FSI Quattro Pricing and Specs
Spyder 5.2 FSI Quattro 5.2L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $236,720 – 272,140 2016 Audi R8 2016 Spyder 5.2 FSI Quattro Pricing and Specs
4.2 FSI Quattro 4.2L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $171,710 – 197,340 2016 Audi R8 2016 4.2 FSI Quattro Pricing and Specs
5.2 FSI Quattro 5.2L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $219,450 – 252,230 2016 Audi R8 2016 5.2 FSI Quattro Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8