2010 Audi R8 Performance

$60,149 - $70,770

2010 Audi R8 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2010 Audi R8 was new.


Performance: 9.0

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 Audi isn't simply quick (zero to 60 in 3.7 seconds) or fast (a quarter-mile in less than 12 seconds), though it easily qualifies as among the dozen fastest street-legals on planet Earth. It isn't only that it will cause your organs to slosh to one side of your rib cage like an untrussed load of pork bellies. It's that the whole package -- the death-grip Pirellis, the mid-engine layout, the all-wheel drive, the carbon-ceramic brakes, the milfoil layering of electronic safety systems, the preternatural balance of the thing -- so thoroughly augments and flatters the abilities of the humanoid behind the wheel." -- Los Angeles Times
  • "Does it bother us one bit that this R8 with a V10 is just a longer and curvier Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4? Oh, yeah, sure, that really bothers us. Are you nuts?" -- Edmunds
  • "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.

Acceleration and Power

The 2010 R8's engine choices thrill auto writers. However, its transmission systems receive mixed reviews

Audi provides two engine options. The R8 4.2 features a 4.2-liter V8 engine that produces 420 horsepower at 7,800 rpm and 317 pound-feet of torque at 4,500 to 6,000 rpm. The all-new R8 5.2 packs a 5.2-liter V10 engine that generates 525 horsepower at 8,000 rpm and 391 pound-feet of torque at 6,500 rpm. While both feature a six-speed gated manual transmission as standard, an R tronic automatic is optional.

Audi reports that the R8 4.2 can reach a top speed of 187 mph and accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. However, the more powerful R8 5.2 has a top speed of 196 mph and accelerates from 0 to 60 in just 3.9 seconds.

According to the EPA, the manual R8 4.2 has a meager city/highway fuel economy of 12/19 mpg, while the automatic can reach 13/18 mpg. Meanwhile, the R8 5.2 nets 12/20 mpg with the manual and 13/20 mpg with the automatic.

  • "By making available an R8 with a monster 525-hp V-10 engine-complementing the 420-hp V-8 model that was introduced two years ago-Audi has elevated its exotic-looking two-seater from 'almost-a-supercar' status to a true competitor in the high-performance realm above mere sports cars." -- Car and Driver
  • "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
  • "Because of its all-aluminum construction, the V10 transplant shouldn't add much weight, so R8 performance should go from thrilling to OMG! We reckon the Audi won't be quite as fast as the lighter Gallardo, but look for a 0-60 mph time below the V8 version's four-second mark, with similar improvements all across the speed band." -- 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
  • "Whether you're slamming through the stainless-steel gates of the standard-issue 6-speed manual transmission or paddle-clicking through the optional R tronic gearbox's six ratios, the R8's explosive V-10 makes beautiful, neck-wrenching high-pitched power all the way to its 8700-rpm redline (200 rpm higher than the Gallardo's). " -- Road and Track

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.

  • "Despite sharing an engine with the raucous Lambo, the R8 V-10 still drives (and sounds) like an R8, albeit one with a lot more power - think sophisticated German, not flamboyant Italian." -- Road and Track
  • "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
  • "Unobtanium comes from and whatever it is, this is its ultimate fettling of it. But it isn't a tooth chipper. The Audi's ride is mostly benevolent -- even in sport suspension mode. There's a fair amount of wheel travel so that it's not constantly knocking the stuffing out of you on rough roads." -- Los Angeles Times
  • "Not surprisingly, the power and torque delivery for this V10-powered Audi is just as sensational as it is for the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4. The aggressive 15 percent front/85 percent rear torque split between axles for the R8's all-wheel-drive system works magic, combining the traction of all-wheel drive with the handling characteristics of rear-wheel drive." -- 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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