When the Audi R8 was first launched some years ago, most Ferrari owners shifted nervously in their leather seats – with good reason, the top of the range eight-pot Audi was, and still is, a serious contender.
Then the 10-cylinder version came out, upping the ante somewhat. Now the second generation has arrived in South Africa, making it the fastest, most powerful car ever released by the car maker.
Bobby Nitro, always a sucker for these dream machines, had to take a look at the specs.
Firstly, it comes in two versions, basically the same car with a different tune.
The Audi R8 V10 5.2 FSI quattro S tronic (397kW) comes in at a measly R2 630 500, while the R8 V10 plus 5.2 FSI quattro S tronic (449kW) will undoubtedly stretch the finances at R2 970 000. Apparently there’s real bang for your buck though.
The driving experience, according the reports, is awesome. Couched in nappa leather or alcantara synthetic suede, in seats with integrated head restraints for the G-forces, with carbon fibre in the V10 plus, you are greeted with a “floating” console and instrument panel that offers a choice of layouts, depending on the mood and intention of the day.
The instrument panel is a 310mm display offering three different standard layouts; for instance, in the “Performance” view the rev-counter sits front and centre, just like in a racing car, with the rest of the dials and displays grouped to your preference around it.
Also following racing practice, the car’s dynamic settings – including the stop-start button – are controlled from the steering wheel, with an extra push-button and turn wheel on the V10 for the exhaust flaps and drive select system.
The basic structure of the vehicle: it’s twice as long as it is wide, (4 420mm by almost two metres) and seriously under-tall. Mostly made of carbon-fibre and aluminium, the base model weighs only 1 555kg.
Standard rims are 18-inchers with carbon ceramic discs an option on the V10 but standard on the V10 plus.
Now for the bit we’ve all been waiting for, that radical powerplant. It’s naturally aspirated for starters, which nowadays is something that bucks the trend towards smaller blown engines.
The excellent thing about such engines is that the power output band is a function of ridiculously high revs (read audio pleasure).
The base model R8 V10 is rated for 397kW at 7800 revs and 540Nm at 6500rpm, good enough for a 0-100 launch in 3.5 seconds, and 320km/h flat out. Not bad, but compared to the upcycled version, the base model will be humiliated on the quarter mile. The V10 plus, tuned to the same spec as the Lamborghini Huracan with which it shares this engine (449kW at a howling 8250 revs and 560Nm at 6500rpm) will hit a hundred in 3.2 seconds with street tyres (and a 10th quicker still on sports rubber) and top out at 330km/h .
Both variants drive all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission with a multi-plate wet clutch at the front axle to get the drive torque balanced.
There is also a mechanical limited-slip differential on the rear axle to keep the rear end under control during acceleration.
So the factory gives you the power, but also does whatever it can to keep those wild horses on the road when you get a little too excited.
The SA launch of the R8 took place at Kyalami up in Gauteng recently, so you can look out for driver impressions on IOL cars soon.