A Web Review Of Audi’s R8 Spyder!
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
Every year the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders lays on a Media Drive Day at Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire. It is a chance to network, catch up with fellow journos and of course drive some cars.
It is a long and exciting day, but towards the end of this year’s event I was feeling rather jaded. The cure, a brief drive in Audi’s recently updated R8 Spyder.
I have always been an R8 fan and two summers ago enjoyed a week behind the wheel. Despite inclement weather, the quattro all-wheel drive system ensured I could enjoy the scintillating performance whatever the weather. It is a supercar you can use everyday without fear of the histrionics which might plague an Italian rival for example.
So what is new? Of most interest is the increase in power and torque. Not exactly short of power to begin with, the R8 can now be had with 570PS or 620PS from its 5.2-litre V10 engine.
All this ensures that top models have now joined the 200mph club, a badge of honour, if a little irrelevant in everyday life.
However, expect to be able to sprint from 0 to 60mph in around 3 seconds…
I’m told the body has had some external nips and tucks designed to add a little more aggression, but you would be hard to tell.
The suspension has been modified too for more dynamic handling and there are a variety of selectable driving modes depending on your mood.
Slipping behind the wheel, it is easy to get comfortable and once I had pressed the starter button and that sonorous V10 had roared into life, I was wide awake.
Slip the lever into drive and I ambled out of the parking area in much the same manner that you would in any automatic car. A few turns later and the high-speed bowl loomed into view.
Sports-mode selected, suspension stiffened and right-foot buried into the carpet and the R8 was off like a scalded cat. In the blink of an eye the 100mph Millbrook-imposed limit was reached, leaving a delightful V10 yowl in my wake.
A few laps at three figure speeds was undramatic, if a little blowy.
Time then to tackle the challenging hill route. Having completed a few dozen laps already that day, I was pumped up and ready to put in a good time. Thankfully most journos had already called it a day and I more or less had the course to myself.
The R8 flatters and thrills in equal measure. Head into a corner too fast and the powerful brakes scrub off excessive speed in milliseconds and the quattro system ensures the nose tucks in undramatically.
Using the gearshift paddles ensured I could hang on to higher revs, not for any other reason than to enjoy the soundtrack.
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All too soon the R8 was returned to its maker and I decided to call it a day. Anything else would have been an anti-climax. I did offer to take the R8 home for further evaluation, but it seemed Audi had other ideas.
So if you are looking for a thrilling car that you can use every day, the R8 still ticks all the right boxes. Supercar one minute, supermarket chariot the next…
570PS and 620PS performance versions
V10 5.2-litre engine
Quattro all-wheel drive
200mph+ top speed
0-60mph in 3 seconds
R8 range from £128,295
A Web Review Of Audi’s R8 Spyder!, 29th May 2019, 17:43 PM