Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
Andy Harris
Motoring and Property Editor
1:29 PM 31st January 2024

Plaudits Aplenty – Time To Say Goodbye To The Audi R8

Back in 2007, Audi decided the time was right to show the world what it was truly made of, and it gave us the stunning R8. Launched to universal acclaim, I too was suitably impressed not only by the looks, acceleration and top notch build quality, but also by the ease of driving, not always a given with supercars.

The original R8 was equipped with a 430PS 4.2-litre V8 plucked from the RS4, later gaining V10 and V10 plus options. All were exceptionally fast but those extra two cylinders made a noticeable difference not just in acceleration but also to the soundtrack. Latterly only V10 engines have powered the R8.

Quattro all-wheel drive was always a standout feature, allowing all the power to be safely deployed whatever the weather conditions. A seven-speed S-Tronic gearbox has been the standard fit gearbox, with obligatory paddles for ultimate control. Silky smooth and lightening quick, I doubt anyone has missed a manual gearbox option.

The world is changing and as we move increasingly to full electrification, the R8’s days are numbered. It will be missed by me and as a fond farewell, the Audi Press Office kindly sent me one of the last models for testing.

The car in question was a rear-wheel drive variant and with temperatures barely above freezing during the test period, I was a tad nervous putting the car through its paces. I needn’t have worried as the R8 felt safe and secure at all times, even when pushing the envelope on some of my favourite roads. I would still choose a quattro model if I was in the lucky position of placing an order.

On the road the R8 feels every bit as fast as the figures would suggest and it is all too easy to stray way over UK speed limits. However, unlike many supercars of its ilk, with the car’s Drive Select button set to Comfort mode, the steering lightens, the throttle response is dulled, and the exhaust note toned down.

As a result, pottering around at urban speeds is a doddle and although the R8 is a wide car, decent forward visibility makes threading the car through narrow streets quite simple.

At motorway speeds, the R8 feels extremely well planted, though it is a tad noisy, with the engine and tyre roar the culprits. I did not mind one bit, as mile after mile of the scenic M6 in Cumbria flashed by. And yes, the R8 still manages to turn heads even after all these years, with one or two passing cars having eager passengers busily snapping on their camera phones.

Once off the motorway, the R8 Coupe shines the brightest on twisty country lanes. Hold on to the gears, and you will, and that screaming V10 soundtrack will reverberate off the dry-stone walls that line my favourite test routes. With power only fed to the rear wheels, the steering and handling balance feels far more natural. Economy does take a hit if pressing on, with mid-teens mpg the order of the day. Expect around 20mpg at a gentle cruise.

The R8’s interior is really rather special, with the finest choice of materials in evidence. Clambering aboard can be a little challenging, but once ensconced there is ample leg and headroom for even the tallest of drivers. The test car came fitted with optional racing bucket seats. The do look rather cool but are nowhere near as adjustable as the standard offerings. I would leave that box unticked and save £3,250 into the bargain.

Kit count is suitably high with all the expected goodies present. Audi’s Virtual Cockpit allows the driver to tailor the display behind the steering wheel, so a large satellite navigation map can be called up if required. It removes the need for a distracting central screen.

A front boot will swallow a weekend’s worth of luggage and there is space behind the front seats for a squashy bag or two, with a large glove box and slim door pockets aiding practicality.

All too soon my week behind the wheel was at an end. I’d taken many friends and neighbours for a drive, and all were wowed by the sense of occasion that the R8 engendered. However, they missed out as you can only really appreciate the many virtues of the R8 from behind the wheel. The car is now long gone, but my memories of the many miles spent behind the wheel of various R8 models will linger… for a long time.

Fast Facts
Audi R8 Coupe V10 Performance RWD Edition
Price £158,055
Options fitted add £12,250
570PS 5,204cc V10 engine
Torque 550Nm
7-speed S-Tronic gearbox
0-62mph in 3.7 seconds
Top speed 204mph
Combined economy 22.1mpg
Emissions 291g/km CO2