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Audi R8 2012 Review

The Audi R8 is an incredibly sexy car.

I have never, ever been in a car that has garnered as many stares and whispers as this one. And to be honest, it's not a bad feeling to have a heap of admirers -- mainly men, skater teens and small boys -- staring at your back-end with smiles on their collective faces. Obviously, it's the R8's exposed (rear) engine that gets them in. As well as its smooth noise. And clean lines. And sleekness. Need I go on?

This mighty fine specimen of A-list, hand-crafted aluminium was 'loaned' to me for a weekend, fulfilling one of my son Connor's (oh, and my) dreams. And sorry, son, we cannot afford one. The kid knew more about our R8 and was more protective of it than he would have been a pet python. That drew me to the conclusion that everyone should, at least once, drive – or even test drive -- a damn sexy sportscar. Which, in turn, led me to the next conclusion that my next car is going to be some/any kind of sportscar.

The precisely put-together R8 is nowhere near as ubiquitous as my trusty ole VW Golf -- there are just a double digit amount of R8's in Australia. But after our acceleR8-ing experience (the son made that little term up) I have now been officially spoilt. It will be hard to go back now.

The Audi R8 was designed as the German car company's city-drivable answer to a Porsche. And when it was unveiled in 2008 it had an engine based on the one in the Lamborghini Gallardo which -- like torque, downforce, kilowatts and ABS -- doesn’t mean a whole lot to me. All I know is that this car definitely has fire in its belly. It wants to go faaaast. And I could, quite possibly, have found a hot-wheeling husband with a passion for fast cars, IF I had continued driving it for the rest of my life.

Audi says its R8 can go from 0 to 100 kilometres per hour in around 3.9 seconds and 97 to 200 km/h in 8.1 seconds. Shame the zillion school zones and residential zones we found over the weekend didn't let any of us fulfil the latter potential. But a drive from Sydney up along the northern beaches gave me all the ammo I needed to know this vehicle was the crème de la crème of cars.

There are all-LED headlights; a killer Bang & Olufsen 465 watt sound system and a body that oozes as much sex as a Victoria's secret fashion show. Or Mila Kunis. Simply, the R8 is an incredibly sexy car. Even sliding into it (and you verge on performing a limbo manoeuvre getting into the cabin) makes you feel like you have hurled yourself onto your wedding night hotel bed. If you get my drift.

The V10 engine would probably chew through the fuel but hey, who’s worried about the price of petrol when you've forked out enough bucks on a car to buy an inner city bedsit?

To be honest, the R8 is not an everyday car. You want to go full throttle but those pesky (ok, ok, much needed) 60km/h zones thwart that full teleporting acceleration experience. The B&O sound system is quite extraordinary. I felt like I was at a live gig each time my tunes were switched on. The transmission is S-tronic, which is chic Audi-speak for automated-manual, with the engine changing gears when it should. There are a number of ways you can ‘drive' the R8 but I opted keeping it in 'A' and it did all the gear-changing for me.

Look, I could have put more effort into actually driving this magnificent specimen of car-hood, and experimenting with the auto gear change system. But I was much too busy enjoying having my rear end (with the magnificent engine exposed under a veil of glass) checked out -- and waving to appreciative car fans with that "this is my car" confidence that only comes with driving a pricey but shockingly chic set of wheels. Simply, I loved it.

Footnote: a new Audi R8 will set you back well into the, gulp, $300k mark ... so get saving. Or find someone rich who'll buy it for you. As a gift. Let's wish.

Pricing guides

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Range and Specs

Spyder 4.2 FSI Quattro 4.2L, PULP, 6 SP SEQ AUTO $104,400 – 132,000 2012 Audi R8 2012 Spyder 4.2 FSI Quattro Pricing and Specs
Spyder 5.2 FSI Quattro 5.2L, PULP, 6 SP SEQ AUTO $130,800 – 165,440 2012 Audi R8 2012 Spyder 5.2 FSI Quattro Pricing and Specs
Spyder 5.2 FSI Quattro Carbon 5.2L, PULP, 6 SP SEQ AUTO $134,600 – 170,170 2012 Audi R8 2012 Spyder 5.2 FSI Quattro Carbon Pricing and Specs
4.2 FSI Quattro 4.2L, PULP, 6 SP SEQ AUTO $94,900 – 120,010 2012 Audi R8 2012 4.2 FSI Quattro Pricing and Specs
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