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2020 Audi R8 Review

The 2020 Audi R8 finishes in the top third of our luxury sports car rankings. Its naturally aspirated engines deliver exceptional power, and the interior lives up to Audi’s reputation for opulence and refinement. However, the R8 has fewer features than some rivals.

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful engines
  • Excellent handling
  • Comfortable seats
  • Posh interior
  • Shorter features list than some rivals
  • High price tag

New for 2020

  • Base engine gains 30 horsepower
  • Exterior styling updates
  • V10 Plus now known as V10 Performance

Rankings & Research

The 2020 Audi R8's #5 ranking is based on its score within the Luxury Sports Cars category. Currently the Audi R8 has a score of 8.8 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 17 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

8.8

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 9.4
Performance: 9.2
Interior: 8.4
Safety:
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
N/A
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Thinking of leasing a Audi R8?

The U.S. News Best Price Program saves users an average of $3,206 off the MSRP, and a lower price equals lower monthly lease payments. That means you could see a savings of $90 a month on a 36-month lease.

Is the Audi R8 a Good Car?

Yes, the Audi R8 is an excellent two-seat luxury sports car. Its V10 engine provides gobs of power that let you rule the road (if you so choose), but it also has dynamic handling and a smooth ride. Its cabin looks great, and the seats are comfortable. The R8 gets poor gas mileage, and some rivals have longer features lists, but those are the only real knocks against this Audi.

Should I Buy the Audi R8?

If you want mind-blowing performance and don't mind paying a small fortune to get it, then the R8 is for you. However, it's far from the only outstanding choice in the class. You should also check out the four-seat Nissan GT-R and the Acura NSX, both of which cost much less.

Compare the R8, GT-R, and NSX »

Should I Buy a New or Used Audi R8?

The 2020 R8 belongs to a generation that began with the 2017 model year. There are few notable changes for 2020: The base model sees a 30-horsepower increase, and there are some interior and exterior styling updates.

There haven't been many other notable updates since the most recent redesign, though the 2018 model did gain Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard equipment. The 2017 redesign introduced a more upscale cabin, a new 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit interface, and more-powerful engine options.

You could save thousands of dollars with an older R8, though you'll miss out on recent updates if you choose a model that predates the 2017 redesign. To research some other used R8 models, read our review of the 2017 and 2018 R8. If you decide an older model is right for you, check out our Used Car Deals page for savings and incentives on used vehicles.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2020 R8 »

We Did the Research for You: 17 Reviews Analyzed

We don’t base our car reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we combine the findings of professional test drivers with data such as reliability ratings and safety scores to give you a complete overview of every vehicle we rank.

This review uses applicable research and data from all model years of the current R8 generation, which runs from 2017 to 2020.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking the best cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years’ worth of auto industry experience combined. To keep our reviews unbiased, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside company manages our advertising.

How Much Does the Audi R8 Cost?

This is one of the more expensive cars on our site. The Audi R8 Coupe has a starting price of $169,900, while the R8 Spyder starts at $182,100. Opt for the V10 Performance version of these models, and starting prices jump to $195,900 and $208,100, respectively.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Audi dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Audi deals page.

Audi R8 Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Audi R8 or Nissan GT-R?

The Nissan GT-R costs significantly less than the R8 (by almost $60,000), but it also comes in behind the Audi in our luxury sports car rankings. The GT-R features a 565-horsepower twin-turbo V6 engine, and it delivers otherworldly handling. Inside, the R8 is much more luxurious, but the Nissan has four seats compared to the Audi's two. Both are excellent driving machines, but at the end of the day, the R8 is a better overall choice. Still, it's up to you to decide if the Audi's much higher price tag is worth it.

Which Is Better: Audi R8 or Acura NSX?

The Acura NSX is a midengine hybrid supercar that features a twin-turbocharged V6 engine and three electric motors that together put out 573 horsepower. It's marginally more powerful than the R8's base setup but not quite as potent as the R8’s V10 Performance trim. The NSX dashes from zero to 60 mph in under three seconds, which is faster than the R8. The Acura also gets better fuel economy. Both cars boast world-class handling and feature standard all-wheel drive. While the NSX has a quality interior with plenty of soft-touch materials befitting its high price, it doesn’t have the outright luxury of some rivals, including the R8. The NSX is a great car, but it’s still just a hair below the R8 overall.

Compare the R8, GT-R, and NSX »

R8 Performance

R8 Engine: Exhilaratingly Powerful

Every Audi R8 features a V10 engine and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The standard version of this V10 puts out 562 horsepower, while the V10 Performance has 602 horses.

You probably already guessed this, but the R8 is fast. Its V10 engine delivers a pleasant roar, but that's still overshadowed by the Millennium Falcon-esque acceleration.

Audi R8 Powertrain/Performance Options:
  • Base engine: 5.2-liter V10 with 562 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque; starts at $169,900 (standard in coupe and Spyder)
  • Available engines:
    • 5.2-liter V10 with 602 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque; starts at $195,900 (standard in V10 Performance)
  • Drivetrain: all-wheel drive
  • Transmission: seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
Audi R8 Appearance Packages:
  • Carbon Exterior package (prices start at $4,800; available in base coupe and base Spyder): carbon fiber engine compartment trim and carbon sigma sideblades (also includes carbon fiber trimmed convertible top compartment lid in Spyder)
  • Carbon Front Spoiler, Rocker Inlay, and Rear Diffuser (prices start at $7,200; available in V10 Performance coupe and V10 Performance Spyder)
Audi R8 Performance Packages:
  • Ceramic Brake package (prices start at $9,900; available in base coupe and base Spyder): ceramic front and rear brakes
Audi R8 Individual Performance Options:
  • Dynamic Steering (prices start at $1,400; available in base coupe and base Spyder)
  • Carbon Fiber Front Sway Bar (prices start at $1,100; available in V10 Performance coupe)
R8 Gas Mileage: Incredibly Thirsty

Few class rivals match the R8's fuel economy, but that's because most competitors easily beat its ratings. The R8 earns just 13 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway.

R8 Ride and Handling: Get After It

Supercars should be athletic, and the R8 fits the bill. It delivers precise steering and outstanding agility. Sturdy brakes provide good stopping power, and the R8's standard Quattro all-wheel-drive system provides excellent road grip in all driving situations.

How Fast Is the Audi R8?

Every R8 is blindingly quick. The "slow" model is the convertible Spyder, with a zero-to-60 time of 3.5 seconds. The V10 Performance model is the best sprinter, going from zero to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds. In a class full of legendary speedsters, the R8 outpaces almost every rival. That said, there are a couple of competitors – such as the Acura NSX and Porsche 911 – with trims that are capable of besting this Audi by a few slivers of a second.

Does the Audi R8 Have All-Wheel Drive?

All R8 models come standard with Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive. Few other sports cars come standard with AWD, and many don't offer it at all.

Read more about performance »

R8 Interior

How Many People Does the R8 Seat?

This luxury sports car seats two people. The seats have a good shape for the purpose they serve, and they remain comfortable even on long drives. The available power-adjustable seats make it easier to find that perfect seating position, and they're worth the upgrade. The racing shell seats in the V10 Performance models are great when you’re at the track, but they're less suitable for daily driving.

R8 and Child Car Seats

The R8 doesn’t have LATCH connectors for installing child safety seats. We do not recommend installing a car seat in the front seat of any vehicle.

R8 Interior Quality

There's little, if anything, to complain about regarding the R8's cabin quality. It features attractive styling and premium materials.

R8 Cargo Space

This Audi isn't a cargo hauler in any way, shape, or form. It gives you just 8 cubic feet of space, which is split between the front trunk and the area behind the seats. It's tough to carry more than a few grocery bags in the R8.

R8 Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features include dual-zone automatic climate control and the MMI infotainment system with a Bang & Olufsen audio system, Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, HD Radio, navigation, two USB ports, Bluetooth, a Wi-Fi hot spot, handwriting recognition, and voice control.

The Virtual Cockpit steals the show. This driver display makes it easy to view things like performance data and navigation instructions. You can even use it in lieu of the infotainment screen. The MMI system responds quickly to inputs and is intuitive for the most part, making it easy to use.

Read more about interior »

R8 Reliability

Is the Audi R8 Reliable?

J.D. Power gives the 2020 R8 a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five.

Audi R8 Warranty

Audi covers the R8 with a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty.

Read more about reliability »

How Much Does It Cost to Insure an Audi R8?

The cost of insuring an Audi R8 will depend on a variety of factors, including your deductible, the level of coverage that you want, and the type of insurance that you choose. Your age, gender, location, credit score, and driving record can also have an impact on your insurance rates. Check out our car insurance guide to find the best policy for you.

R8 Safety

R8 Crash Test Results

Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has crash tested the 2020 R8. This is typical for high-priced sports cars.

R8 Safety Features

The R8 comes standard with a rearview camera, as well as front and rear parking sensors. No other driver aids are available.

Read more about safety »

R8 Dimensions and Weight

The R8 is 14.5 feet long and has a curb weight that ranges from 3,627 to 3,957 pounds.

Where is the Audi R8 Built?

Audi builds the 2020 R8 in Germany.

When Did the Audi R8 First Come Out?

The Audi R8 was introduced for the 2006 model year. The R8 is a two-seat, midengine sports car that's based on the Audi Le Mans Quattro concept car. The first R8 models had a standard V8 engine and offered a V10. The R8's convertible body style, known as the Spyder, was introduced for 2008. Audi rolled out a redesigned R8 for 2017 (following a one-year hiatus). That marked the beginning of the current R8 generation, which includes the 2020 model. The current generation doesn't offer V8 engines, leaving a V10 as the only powertrain choice.

Which Audi R8 Model Is Right for Me?

All R8 models are more or less the same from the standpoint of interior quality, comfort, and features. Choosing the right trim basically comes down to two questions: Do you want the most track-oriented performance, and do you want a convertible? If the answer to both is no, stick with the standard Coupe model, which will save you some money. For a convertible, the R8 Spyder is the trim to get. If you really want a track monster, go with the Coupe V10 Performance, which has an even stronger engine and other performance upgrades.

Audi R8 Coupe

The Audi R8 Coupe sports a starting price of $169,900. It has plenty of standard features, including leather upholstery, power-adjustable heated sport seats, and the MMI infotainment system with a 12.3-inch driver’s display, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a Wi-Fi hot spot, and more. It also comes with a 562-horsepower V10 engine and standard Quattro all-wheel drive.

There aren’t a lot of optional features for this trim, but you can upgrade to the V10 Performance, which starts at $195,900. It features racing shell seats and adds a sport-tuned suspension. Also, the engine puts out 602 horsepower instead of 562.

Audi R8 Spyder

The Audi R8 Spyder has a starting price of $182,100. It’s identical to the standard R8 Coupe with one notable exception: The R8 Spyder is a convertible. The top can fold down at speeds of up to 31 mph. The V10 Performance version of the Spyder starts at $208,100.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Audi dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Audi deals page.

See 2020 Audi R8 specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2020 Audi R8 is one of the finest performance vehicles on the road. It's powerful and agile, with an interior that looks and feels the way a luxury car's cabin should. Sure, the price is high, but the R8 is worth it for some buyers. With such outstanding overall quality, it's easy to see why the R8 claims a spot in the top third of our luxury sports car rankings.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "With its Bauhaus curves, it might be tempting to view the R8 as a style statement but it's much more than that. The R8 hits all the senses with its fantastic handling, wonderful sound and immediate responses. The extra bonus is that you don't even need to go fast in the R8 to feel the thrills." -- Consumer Reports
  • "The 2020 Audi R8 doesn't try to reinvent the wheel. Rather, the nudges and tweaks help the car stay up to date. In fact, it's what hasn't changed that makes this car so special. For as long as the R8 keeps its glorious, naturally aspirated engine and incredible driving experience, it's going to take a lot more than lousy shift paddles to make me lose my interest." -- CNET
  • "It remains a hugely talented and hugely likable performance machine. Our previous experience suggests that this one will perform better on the road than it does on the track." -- Car and Driver
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2020 Audi R8

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