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2009 Audi R8 Review

Note: This review was created when the 2009 Audi R8 was new.

The Audi R8 is admired for its sporty, yet comfortable, nature. Combined with head-turning style and a luxurious cabin, it's no surprise that it's favorably compared to costlier exotics. 

8.5

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.9
Performance: 8.9
Interior: 8.6
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

Pros & Cons

  • Blasts from 0 to 60 in 4.4 seconds
  • Sporty ride, yet comfortable for daily use
  • Original, attention-grabbing exterior design
  • Spacious cabin features supportive seats for two
  • Transmissions received mixed reviews
  • Exterior side blades not liked by all
  • Some ergonomic quirks and little cargo room
  • Hampered rearward visibility

2009 Audi R8 Overview

Introduced in 2008, the R8 is Audi's first attempt at manufacturing a mid-engine sports car, let alone an exotic. Fortunately for everyone, reviewers find that Audi accomplished its goal. The R8 is praised for its rocket-like speed and sporty handling dynamics, yet is comfortable enough to use as a daily driver. What's more, its cabin is roomy and offers comfortable, supportive seating for two. And its looks? Please. "Admirers will be gawking everywhere the R8 goes," writes Road and Track. "It's like trying not to stare at Salma Hayek walking by -- an R8 is just plain hard to ignore." Though the R8 isn't without faults, they're largely insignificant when taken as a whole.

If you're in the market for an exotic sports car, also check out the Aston Martin Vantage. It costs about the same as the R8, but trumps it in nearly every category. And while it's true that the R8 is quicker off-the-line, few exotics match the Vantage's silky smooth transmission and comfortable sports handling.

With the exception of a new six-disc CD changer and Bluetooth connectivity, the Audi R8 carries into the 2009 model-year virtually unchanged.

  • "Toting up the R8's many assets and few liabilities yields a highly positive bottom line. Audi is to be commended for diving into the deep end of the sports car pool and swimming strongly among sharks possessed of seriously sharp teeth." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Named for the race car that was unbeatable in five appearances at the Le Mans 24-hour race, the R8 represents an ambitious step up for Audi, a mid-engined two-seater offering enough speed to get you arrested within a couple city blocks and looks-like-a-supercar-to-me styling." -- Car and Driver
  • "What's more, while the Audi's sonorous V8 makes it thrillingly quick, the GT-R and Z06 are quicker still, as is the competitively priced 911 GT3. Only when one considers that the R8 is based on the exclusive Lamborghini Gallardo does its price tag seem somewhat reasonable." -- Edmunds
  • "By all accounts, the 2009 Audi R8 is a supercar, but that doesn't mean it's uncompromising and hard-edged. It's an incredibly capable performance machine, yet every bit as luxurious as it is sporting.  ... Then again, it had better be really good if it is to compete with its most obvious rival, the Porsche 911 Turbo." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The R8 offers head-turning style, pulse-quickening performance, and superb build quality, yet is quiet and comfortable enough for daily commuting.  ... Overall, the R8 is an impressive supercar achievement and a great drive." -- Consumer Guide
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