2009 Audi R8 Performance

$56,691 - $56,881

2009 Audi R8 Performance Review

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


Performance: 8.9

Reviewers find that the R8 combines the best of both worlds: Sports-car fun with everyday drivability -- which is definitely an advantage over its exotic sports car rivals. 

  • "The thing that blew my mind most about the R8, though -- besides the entire freaking car, I mean -- is the thing's ability to function as regular transportation." -- Car and Driver.
  • "Power is sent to all four wheels in typical Audi fashion, and it's supported by communicative steering and brilliant handling." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

The R8's mid-mounted 4.2-liter V8 engine -- which generates 420-horsepower at 7,800 rpm and 317 pound-feet of torque at 4,500 to 6,000 rpm, thrills auto writers. However, its transmission systems receive mixed reviews. Though a six-speed gated manual transmission is standard, a R tronic automatic is optional. Audi reports that the R8 can reach a top speed of 187 mph and accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds.

According to the EPA, the manual R8 has a meager city/highway fuel economy of 12/19 mpg, while the automatic can reach 13/18 mpg.

  • "The 4.2-liter V-8 sounds incredible-like an angry stampede of ten-foot-tall grizzlies pissed because you stole their lunch money-and it makes the R8 go like hell." -- Car and Driver
  • "Some 90 percent of the engine's peak torque of 317lb-ft is available between 3500 and 7500rpm, which is good news because you don't need to be constantly muscling the somewhat deliberate shifter to keep the R8 on the boil." -- Motor Trend
  • "The 420 horsepower V8 is a model of response and power, and downshifting is rarely ever necessary, as torque is abundant and available throughout the rev range. The optional R tronic transmission provides for quick gear changing, but shifting through the metal gate of the manual transmission is perhaps more satisfying." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Audi claims 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds with either transmission, and our manual test car felt at least that fast." -- Consumer Guide
  • "We can't recommend the outdated single-clutch R tronic gearbox...because its automatic throttle blips on downshifts can't compensate for its cranky upshifts, which manage to be at once sluggish and neck-snapping. The conventional manual transmission, on the other hand, is a joy to operate, featuring an excellent mechanical feel augmented by an audible clink-clink as you row through the exposed metal gates." -- Edmunds
  • "The six-speed manual transmission features the old-school metal gates like you'd find on Ferraris and Lamborghinis. It shifts solidly, but not as smoothly as, say, a 911's stick shift." -- Forbes

Handling and Braking

Test drivers praise the Audi R8 for its sporty and balanced handling dynamics, which make it suitable for both racing and everyday use. Aiding its road-gripping sporty performance is Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive system, which can distribute as much as 35 percent of torque to the front wheels depending on conditions.

  • "Behind the wheel, what strikes you most is the uncanny civility of the R8. There's no strain, no burring or harshness anywhere, flog it though you may. In around-town driving, the R8 rides like an A8 sedan, or maybe a maglev train." -- Los Angeles Times
  • "Surprisingly comfortable despite an obviously firm suspension, 19-inch wheels, and wide, low-profile tires. Still, the R8 gets restless on patchy pavement and can jolt over potholes and sharp bumps, though we've endured worse. At least the test car showed no structural shudder or rattles." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Audi says a run from 0 to 60 m.p.h. takes 4.4 seconds, but the R8 is less about straight-line speed than about cohesive balance, the ability to tackle any road with instant confidence." -- New York Times
  • "All-wheel drive and monstrous tires give the R8 a stuck-to-the-ground feel, yet the car is also lively and willing when driven on twisty roads." -- Edmunds
  • "As would be expected, the brakes are up to the task, with 15-inch discs with eight-piston calipers in the front and 14-inch discs with four-piston calipers in the rear." -- Kelley Blue Book

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