v10 plus reviews


v10 plus reviews

So, not only is there Dynamic Drive on both models, in which you can switch between Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual, but in the Plus model the driver can also select between Wet, Dry and Snow settings to tailor the mapping of the engine, transmission and stability control depending on how confident they are feeling, or what the conditions are like underfoot.

New Audi R8 V10 Plus review

The new Audi R8 represents a big improvement in most areas over a car that was already very good indeed. It’s lighter, faster, stiffer and more powerful than ever before. Yet at the same time it’s also more efficient and more economical, featuring one of the best cabins of any sports car, at any price. Shame it isn’t a touch more analogue in its responses, especially in the way it steers with the new Dynamic steering system fitted. But then you can’t have everything, can you?

Lighter, stiffer, more powerful and faster than ever before, the new Audi R8 would appear – on paper at least – to be a much improved version of an already very good sports car.

There are two models that will hit UK roads at the end of this month, both featuring V10 engines – one with 532bhp, the other with 602bhp. The entry level version, known simply as the V10, costs £119,500, while the top notch V10 Plus model starts at £134,500.

Since its launch in 2007, the R8 has redefined what’s possible in terms of dynamics and driver enjoyment while at the wheel of an Audi. Before the R8, fast Audis were always lacking somewhat in terms of emotion. In the eight years that have followed, however, Audis have got more exciting to drive across the board – the RS versions especially so. And this all-new R8 takes the game another big step in the right direction…

The headline advancements are many. The core chassis is stiffer and stronger thanks to its amalgam of carbon and aluminium. The four-wheel drive system is smarter and even more efficient, the engines produce more energy yet burn less fuel – despite the 5.2-litre block being fundamentally unchanged internally.

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And then there’s the new interior, complete with redesigned (and very excellent) digital dashboard featuring a new 12.3in TFT display. There’s a set of all-new seats, and an all-new Drive Select system, too.

Even the headlight mechanisms have been reengineered to incorporate Audi’s optional laser light technology, meaning you will no longer be the brightest spark on the road if you specify the R8’s standard LED lights (which happen to work quite brilliantly anyway).

There is no V8 model this time round, Audi instead choosing to distinguish between the top and mid level versions by giving the V10 Plus more kit as standard inside, more power and torque, and more flexibility on the move thanks to its new Performance Mode.

So, not only is there Dynamic Drive on both models, in which you can switch between Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual, but in the Plus model the driver can also select between Wet, Dry and Snow settings to tailor the mapping of the engine, transmission and stability control depending on how confident they are feeling, or what the conditions are like underfoot.

There’s even a button that opens up the exhaust system which, when in sport mode, produces the requisite crackles and bangs on the overrun. To begin with, this seems like another fantastic new R8 feature, but once you realise that it emits the exact same burst of crackles, every time you back away from the throttle, it does feel a touch digitised.

The steering is electro-hydraulic on both models, but you can also opt for a new variable ratio Dynamic rack for an additional £1,200, which quickens the response as more lock is applied. The car we drove had this equipped, and to be honest we wished we’d been able to try a new R8 with regular steering. Actually, the steering was just about the only aspect of the car that didn’t quite hit the bullseye.

There is accuracy and precision by the bucketload to the R8’s new Dynamic steering, but little in the way of feel. So you trust that the front tyres are going to go where you aim them purely by using your eyes. Your hands and fingertips, on the other hand, receive far less information, and for a car as fast and focused as this, that has to go down as a minor disappointment.

Elsewhere, the new R8 is hard – if not impossible – to fault, even if it does lack the last tenth of raw excitement that other cars in this class now offer, most specifically the McLaren 570S. The engine is an absolute peach, a classic atmospheric V10 that revs all the way to 8,250rpm. It sounds delicious while doing so, and has an immediacy of response to its throttle that no turbocharged engine could ever replicate.

The seven-speed dual clutch gearbox also works quite brilliantly in conjunction with the V10 engine, delivering up or downshifts faster than you could ever manage manually, and with an increasing level of gusto depending on which drive mode you’ve selected.

And as for the handling, body control, grip and traction – the new R8 displays so much composure everywhere, wet or dry. In fact, it feels a lot like it’s on rails most of the time. On the road, its limits are way beyond what any sane driver would ever expect to reach. Which is either a very good thing if that’s what turns you on, or a touch beige if you want a bit more edge and excitement.

Finally, the Plus gets carbon ceramic brakes fitted as standard, and additional driving modes. Those are the main differences done and dusted, so I can just copy/paste the remainder of our V10 Spyder review from last year, then mosey off to have a skinny latte or whatever it is R8 Spyder owners drink, right? Well no, actually.

Audi R8 Spyder V10 Plus Review: Not The Best Supercar, But The One You Need

I don’t recall at any point of my drive in the R8 Spyder last year thinking “hmmmm, it could do with a little more power.” Upping the 533bhp output of the 5.2-litre, naturally-aspirated V10 any further is surely akin to heaping sugar over a bowl of Lucky Charms, and yet here we are one year on with – you guessed it – an even more powerful R8 Spyder.

It’s the £147,370 V10 Plus Spyder, good for – in line with the V10 Plus coupe – 602bhp. And good Lord, are those 600 or so horses a rowdy bunch. The optional sports exhaust fitted to our test car is worth every penny of the £1800 it sets you back – the way it ricochets the V10 shriek off trees, lorries you’re overtaking, any buildings in the vicinity and so forth turns your life into one big tunnel run.

It’s immense, but perhaps the most surprising thing isn’t the noise the engine produces, rather the noises it provokes you into making. Childish giggles. Whoops of delight. And when I gave my dad a brief ride in the car, screams of terror.

It’ll be a sad day when this engine is no longer with us. It lets out a glorious howl around 4000rpm when the exhaust baffles properly open up, while that last 1000rpm before the near-9k redline provides a swift kick up the arse as the 5.2-litre masterpiece truly comes on song. Not to mention a damn good wail. And yes, you do notice that extra 69bhp. The ‘boggo’ R8 V10 already feels stupidly quick, but there’s an extra sense of eye-widening urgency to the way the Plus propels you forward. Use launch control and you’ll see 0-62mph happen in just 3.3 seconds – a tenth down on the Plus coupe, and three tenths up on the regular Spyder.

It looks better too, thanks to lashings of carbonfibre inside and out. The carbon instrument binnacle is a particular highlight, and I’m fond of that cheeky lip spoiler which – if you don’t want to be too flashy – can be specced in body colour. The front splitter, side skirts and rear diffuser are made of the stuff too, and you get some natty CF cladding for the side blades – although that last detail can be optioned on the base Spyder.

Finally, the Plus gets carbon ceramic brakes fitted as standard, and additional driving modes. Those are the main differences done and dusted, so I can just copy/paste the remainder of our V10 Spyder review from last year, then mosey off to have a skinny latte or whatever it is R8 Spyder owners drink, right? Well no, actually.

Something rather significant has happened since the first drop-top second-gen R8 arrived: McLaren has unleashed the – admittedly £17k more expensive – 570S Spider upon the world. While the R8 Plus Spyder gains over 100kg over its tin top brother, Woking’s ‘entry-level’ alfresco supercar has its kerb weight bumped up by just 46kg.

Its fancy ‘Monocell’ carbonfibre tub means that it needs no underbody strengthening at all – that weight gain is for the folding metal roof, and the folding metal roof alone. Plus, unlike the Audi, rigidity stays exactly the same. So, it’s just as mesmerisingly good to drive as the coupe version.

But with the R8, you do feel its extra weight in the corners. It’s still ludicrously grippy and exhibits very tidy body control even on the standard passive suspension (magnetic dampers are an option), but it just isn’t quite as eager to change direction as the coupe, and certainly not as darty in tighter corners.

Like all second-gen R8s it’s a little too keen to understeer, and even if you avoid the downright odd Dynamic Steering option, the R8’s rack is too light, and lacks feedback. This was highlighted further by my drive in a 911 Carrera 4 GTS the day before the Audi arrived at TeamCT’s super-secret out-of-town testing location (also known as my house), because no one does electric power steering better than Porsche right now.

The car’s flaws go further than dynamics, too. The rear bulkhead has been moved forward to accommodate the folding fabric roof, which means my six-and-a-bit-foot frame just about fits in, but anyone taller than that is going to feel cramped. And while Audi’s virtual cockpit is a neat piece of kit, it’s not as intuitive as you might think.

But, horribly predictable though this is, all of that stuff falls away when you put your foot down. Naturally-aspirated supercars, particularly ones that send shivers down the spine like this one does, are in short supply these days. And so what if it’s not quite as sharp as the McLaren or Porsche’s 911 Turbo cabriolet? It has no trouble thrilling you with every drive, whether you’re attacking your favourite back road or noisily ambling down to the supermarket.

Noise; silliness; compromises; making memories that’ll never budge from your hippocampus – that’s what supercars are all about, and the R8 V10 Plus Spyder delivers every damn time you push the big red ‘start’ button.

Its profile is distinctive thanks to a hunkered-down stance that pushes the passenger compartment far more forward than sloped-roof sports cars like, say, the Porsche 911 and Mercedes-AMG GT. The R8 is a wide vehicle, but its design elements have been pushed outward to give it an even more planted look than its dimensions might suggest.

2018 Audi R8

Performance

With its balance between performance and comfort, the 2018 Audi R8 is ready for just about anything.

Its cost of entry might be reasonable by supercar standards, but you’re not getting anything subpar when it comes to the Audi R8. The screaming V-10 engine, the rapid-fire responsiveness of the 7-speed dual clutch transmission, and the all-wheel-drive system that grips for days all combine to make it a 10 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

That’s all great. Supercars should be fast. They should read the road surface and transmit it directly to the driver. They should be as suave at 10/10ths on a race track as they are snaking through Laurel Canyon.

The Audi R8 checks all of those boxes.

But where it really surprises is in its day-to-day comfort, something heretofore reserved mainly for touring and GT cars—think the Chevrolet Corvette and Porsche 911. Credit for the R8’s flexibility is due in part to its Drive Mode Select system. At the press of a button, Comfort and Auto modes dial the adaptive suspension back to a tolerable level for in-town slogging. Pick Dynamic or Performance and the R8 is ready for a track day jaunt. Performance mode turns off the traction control, while Dynamic dials things back to let the driver have a little more fun.

Don’t count out the R8’s V-10, which cranks out 540 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque in standard tune. Opt for the R8 V10 Plus (coupe only) and those figures jump to 610 hp and 413 lb-ft. Regardless, both R8 variants send power to all four corners via a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.

A rear-wheel-drive version joined the lineup in 2018, but we haven’t yet driven that model. We’ll report back once we do.

Driving the 2018 Audi R8

Chuck the R8 hard into a turn, and the first thing that you’ll notice is how quickly it responds. The optional active dynamic steering system is precise and quick, if a little light. Carry that speed through the corner and the Pirelli P Zero tires will be hard-pressed to give up grip. When they finally do, the R8 corners neutrally and reacts directly to the driver’s input. The R8 is also forgiving; enter the corner with too much momentum and it pushes forward instead of rotating. Tap the brakes and the nose will stay hunkered down. Throttle too aggressively in the middle of a corner and the R8’s tail end steps out as though power is only set rearward instead of to all four tires. But if you start to slide, the R8 responds by apportioning power forward to help drive you out of a slide.

The V-10 has plenty of reserve power. Unlike a turbocharged engine, the R8’s V-10 delivers smooth, linear grunt through the entire rev range. It’s easy to hit the automaker’s 0-62 mph estimate of 3.2 seconds for the V10 Plus and 3.5 seconds for the standard R8 thanks to the standard launch control system.

Most of our driving has been behind the wheel of the R8 V10 Plus with its strong carbon-ceramic brake setup. They’re a little too sharp for street driving, though, so consider how you plan to use your R8 before placing your order.

After a few warm-up laps on the two mile track, I was finally ready to let the R8 do its thing. I pushed the checkered flag button on the steering wheel to select Performance mode, which then let me drill down further to select Dry, Wet or Snow. The sky was blue and the temperature gauge read 105 degrees. Dry, it is.

2017 Audi R8 V10 Plus

The Good

The Bad

The Bottom Line

The R8 debuted 10 — yes, 10 — years ago, at the Paris Auto Show. It’s always been an undercover supercar lacking the élan of a Ferrari or the swagger of a McLaren. Still, its 5.2-liter engine, available detuned with 540 horsepower or a full-bore 610, is a twin to the Lamborghini Huracan, thankfully without any of the harsh angles prevalent on that angry bull.

Instead, this second-generation R8 carries the tight Audi design language seen on the new TT. Smooth curves tuck into a tightly conscripted front fascia. LED headlights and tail lights are standard, and the dynamic sequential rear turn signals grab the attention of the driver behind.

But you can’t talk Audi R8 without talking about the blade. The slash of solid black from top to bottom on the profile of the R8 is no more. Instead, the body color cuts through the blade, bisecting it into two distinct parcels. I love it, but some of my colleagues at Roadshow contend that the new style line interrupts the visual flow of the rear quarter panel.

Track time

I knew I had to get the R8 on the track to truly appreciate its mid-engine power. Thunderhill Raceway, a few hours north of Roadshow HQ, may not be the fastest track in the world, but there’s enough of a front straight to break triple digits and plenty of turns to toss the R8 around.

Upon startup, the V10 engine roared to life at a timbre that thrilled my soul. I wanted to turn it off and back on again just to hear its basso growl.

After a few warm-up laps on the two mile track, I was finally ready to let the R8 do its thing. I pushed the checkered flag button on the steering wheel to select Performance mode, which then let me drill down further to select Dry, Wet or Snow. The sky was blue and the temperature gauge read 105 degrees. Dry, it is.

Coming out of the horseshoe at turn 2 and into a downhill straight highlighted the Audi’s high-revving engine. The cylinders screamed behind me as I waited for the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission to upshift. The revs climbed higher and higher as I dared a quick peek at the tachometer. 6,500 rpm, then 7,000 rpms and still climbing. I started to get nervous. Will this thing ever shift? Will I blow the motor? Will Audi ever talk to me again?

All my concerns were for naught as the R8’s 5.2-liter engine is designed to rev that high. It doesn’t even hit peak horsepower until 8,250 rpm, and redline comes soon after at 8,700. Keeping on the gas is an exercise in pushing through your fear and trusting the vehicle.

Through the turns, the R8 hugged the track like I’d hug Chris Pratt should he walk into my office. That is, constantly and without interruption. In fact, with the all-wheel-drive technology I would have to work hard to get the R8 to break traction. Had I turned traction control off I might be singing a different tune, but while drifting around a corner is fun and all, it certainly isn’t the fastest way around the track. Instead the Audi stayed flat in the turns, exhibiting little body roll, letting gravity push me into the firmly bolstered (and heated!) racing seat.

With full attention being placed on the driver’s quarters, every key performance and convenience function can be controlled without ever removing your hands from the exquisite steering wheel. Thick-rimmed with porous leather, accentuated with a deep red ignition button, and flat-bottomed to ease vehicle entry and exit, the R8’s rudder is a treat to handle. Lift the eyes a few inches and you’ll be staring at Audi’s 12.3-inch digital display, Virtual Cockpit. The solo screen is fully customizable and handles telemetry data, Google Earth, media settings, and drive modes to reduce driver distractions.

2017 Audi R8 V10 Plus review

  • Adhesive all-wheel drive
  • Stupendous V10 wail
  • Advanced, cohesive cabin
  • Brutal acceleration
  • Futuristic looks
  • Should a supercar be subtle?
  • Mid-engine design means limited luggage space

The truth is, the only people who ever fantasize about a “daily driver supercar” are the ones who can’t really afford them. When the pinnacle of vehicular engineering and design escapes your financial reach, you dream of bundling your practical needs and performance desires into one generalist purchase. By contrast, those with the wherewithal to purchase a new supercar almost certainly can afford one or more additional cars to tackle family hauling and other utilitarian duties.

This reality liberates engineers to design supercars without compromises. Sure, everyone has to comply with safety regulations, but if there’s no concern for trunk space, fuel economy, or affordable build materials, the restrictions on automotive visionaries are few.

But what happens when an automaker tries to build the do-it-all supercar: one that’s comfortable and agile, sharp and subtle, powerful and tamed? That’s precisely the challenge Audi underwent in 2007 with its first generation R8, and now its successor seeks to improve the total package.

Modern, not mental

Supercars don’t exactly have a mold like every other segment of vehicle. Each automaker attempts to push the boundaries of engineering and styling in its own way, but all step out of their comfort zone to some degree. Here’s the first step on the 2017 Audi R8’s alternate path.

The low-slung coupe uses sharp creases, carbon fiber accents, and a mid-engine layout to distinguish itself from lesser sports cars, but it doesn’t command attention in the same way as rivals like the McLaren 570S and Lamborghini Huracan. My Dynamite Red tester is about as bold as you can configure the new R8 (at least until the Spyder and its golden yellow paint become available), yet onlookers don’t seem to react to the car with the same stupefied expression as other, more artistic models.

But what the R8 yields in flash, it makes up for in cohesive design. The angular body is one of the most futuristic shapes ever to roll off a production line. While some supercars can be confused as “some new Ferrari or Lamborghini,” (sorry McLaren) the R8 is almost immediately recognized as an Audi – even if the nameplate is unknown. That’s because Audi’s latest models are all characterized by piercing LED headlights and taillights, ornate wheel designs, and angular bodies.

Though the second generation R8 maintains its predecessor’s silhouette, every body panel has been re-sculpted to give the subtle supercar new life. A platinum mesh hexagonal grille dominates the front end, and is flanked by sets of blacked-out strakes to divide the air inlets. Audi has extended the new R8’s roofline in fastback spectacle, while the iconic side blades have been replaced with two pieces of carbon fiber – the lower of which channels air into the engine bay. The rectangular rear houses a pair of trapezoidal cheeks with thin LED taillights and honeycomb grates to help cool the mighty motor. Aerodynamic accents are restricted to a carbon fiber front splitter, rear wing and diffuser.

Wake up, Chuck

For such a modest exterior, the 2017 R8 V10 Plus has no qualms asserting itself. Nestled just behind the noggins of driver and passenger is a 5.2-liter naturally aspirated V10 motor ported from the Lamborghini Huracan LP610-4. The standard R8 detunes the Italian-built engine to a respectable 540 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque, but my V10 Plus tester unleashes a full 610hp and 413 lb-ft of torque via a seven-speed dual clutch transmission.

Sadly, the original R8’s gated manual is no longer an option, but thanks to Audi’s notorious Quattro all-wheel drive system, the dual-clutch helps the R8 V10 Plus achieve a 0 to 60 mph sprint of just 2.9 seconds and a top speed of 205 mph. Among its rivals, only the Porsche 911 Turbo S can beat the R8 off the line, but top speeds are even across the board. Far from Orange County’s suburban chaos, I was able to test the R8’s launch control, and I’d wager the R8’s lack of wheel spin translates to a faster sprint than Audi lets on.

Quattro isn’t just good for rocketing out of a hole, too. Grip is delivered in unending doses through just about any speed. Audi’s drivetrain intuitively powers whichever wheel or wheels have the most traction in bends, letting drivers keep their right foot planted for faster corner exits. Even with stability control turned off, the R8 behaves like a kid on Christmas Eve.

Miles Branman/Digital Trends

Jousting with G-forces is a kick in the pants, but nothing beats the audio track that takes over as you approach the R8’s 8,700 rpm redline. Peak torque registers at 6,500 rpms, but with such a prodigious power band, it’s worth every decibel to hold gears that extra fraction of a second. Without reservation, I’d call the R8’s engine note sovereign among production motors. Aston Martin’s 6.0-liter V12 comes close, but nothing wails quite like this powertrain. Better still, aural delight can be experienced in any drive mode by simply jabbing the “exhaust” button on the R8’s steering wheel.

Business as usual

Prop open the R8’s doors (no gullwing or scissor hinges here) and you’re greeted by the definition of refinement. Audi’s breed of luxury has never focused on lavish interiors, but rather handsome designs and user-friendly interfaces. The 2017 R8 is no exception.

The R8’s angular body is one of the most futuristic shapes ever to roll off a production line.

With full attention being placed on the driver’s quarters, every key performance and convenience function can be controlled without ever removing your hands from the exquisite steering wheel. Thick-rimmed with porous leather, accentuated with a deep red ignition button, and flat-bottomed to ease vehicle entry and exit, the R8’s rudder is a treat to handle. Lift the eyes a few inches and you’ll be staring at Audi’s 12.3-inch digital display, Virtual Cockpit. The solo screen is fully customizable and handles telemetry data, Google Earth, media settings, and drive modes to reduce driver distractions.

Carbon fiber trim is woven around the instrument cluster, door panels, and center stack, meeting leather, Alcantara, brushed aluminum, and high-quality plastics elsewhere. Audi’s gear selector is chiseled into a work of art to complement the ornate climate control tabs that jut from the dash in triplet. Admittedly, passengers have much less to enjoy within the R8’s cockpit, but supercars have always been a selfish indulgence.

Controlling the R8’s driving experience is Audi’s sophisticated Drive Select system. Four drive modes modulate throttle response, suspension damping, steering feel, and V10 vocals. At any time, the driver can also notch the gear selector into “S” to hasten automatic shifts or pull a paddle on the steering wheel to engage manual shift mode. Whichever setting you chose, the R8’s chassis never even approaches harsh riding territory, solidifying its competency as a daily driving instrument.

Messing with the establishment

At the sub-$200K price point, the Audi R8 V10 Plus invites challenges from McLaren’s 570S, Porsche’s 911 Turbo S, Acura’s NSX, Aston Martin V12 Vantage S, and Mercedes-AMG GT R. Each vehicle is astoundingly quick, attractive, and desirable, but the R8 is the only supercar that’s as thrilling to pummel on a track as it is to dawdle through a neighborhood.

You’ll never be able to cross-shop a minivan with a two-door, but you might just be able to trim your vehicle fleet into an R8 plus-one affair.


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