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Audi R8 2009 Review

The fastest car to ever wear an Audi badge has hit Australia.

 

The V10-powered Audi R8 is officially good for 317km/h and qualifies as a paid-up member of the supercar club with a 0-100km/h sprint time of just 3.9 seconds. It is fast in every gear, all the time.

But it will take a cashed-up buyer to put one in the garage, with a starting price of $351,000, or $366,900 with the R-tronic manu-matic gearbox.

The other bad news is just as blunt: Audi Australia is only expecting 10 cars and it has names against all of them.

"We want to attract customers who are intrigued by the R8 … but were waiting for the V10," says Immo Buschmann, marketing chief of Audi Australia. "The R8 V10 is already a very good car, but it's good to refresh the R8 and introduce a new level. "That level comes thanks to a 5.2-litre V10 engine with a romping 386 kiloWatts and 530 Newton-metres of torque.

It's a huge increase over the 4.2-litre V8, which was snitched from the S4 for use in the mid-engined rocket. It's a similar engine to the one used in the Lamborghini Gallardo, although not as tautly tuned as the Italian car.

Still, it has huge grunt from the time you turn the key and a fantastic engine note which is unique to the car.

Car nuts will pick the V10 by its all-LED front lamps, a slightly different grille and oval exhaust pipes − which replace the four-pipe exhaust on the V8.

Driving

The new R8 is a genuine road rocket that confirms all the promise of the V8. It is more muscular where it counts, with instant urge in every gear, as the V10 lifts the package from fast to superfast.

Accelerate from 80km/h and it's easy to get the traction-control light blinking, even on dry bitumen. It's that sort of car. The sound is terrific, too, with a guttural bark that reaches its peak as the tacho needle twists past 7000 revs on the way to the 8700 redline.

Audi Australia is previewing the R8 V10 today at Lakeside Raceway in Queensland, where its speed is far beyond the ability of ordinary drivers. It easily tops 210km/h down the front straight and tips 200 again at another spot at the back of the swooping, curving course.

Driven back-to-back with the regular R8 − with only a V8 − it is up to 20km/h faster at some points and never seems to run out of puff and push.

The single test car is a six-speed manual, and would probably be quicker and easier to drive with the R-Tronic, but that's a minor point unless you're buying.

The real shock comes when you drop back to the pocket-rocket S3, which has 188 kiloWatts on its own.

It is swift and fun on the road, but compared to the R8 V10 at Lakeside it is slow and ponderous and unresponsive. Yes, the V10 makes the R8 just that good.

 

Pricing guides

$107,690
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$84,260
Highest Price
$131,120

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
4.2 FSI Quattro 4.2L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $84,260 – 96,910 2009 Audi R8 2009 4.2 FSI Quattro Pricing and Specs
5.2 FSI Quattro 5.2L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $108,020 – 124,190 2009 Audi R8 2009 5.2 FSI Quattro Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide

$84,260

Lowest price, based on third party pricing data

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