$134,790 - $150,117

2017 Audi R8 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Audi R8 was new.


Performance: 9.9

Powering the 2017 Audi R8 is a 5.2-liter V10 engine paired to a seven-speed automatic transmission. Output depends on whether you're looking at the R8 V10 (540 horsepower) or the V10 Plus (610 horsepower). Audi gives you the option to set the exhaust note to a soft purr or a raucous roar. On the track, sprint times are blisteringly fast. Back on public roads, the R8 tames down to become an easy-to-drive sports car.

  • "While some production cars can match the R8's absolute performance on track – and few can beat it – only the elite can come close to the R8's civility while retaining that raw, race-bred edge. McLaren's Sport Series, for example, and the far reaches of Porsche's 911 line. Sports and supercar royalty." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "After a few hours on public roads with little fatigue, we hit the rising and running 2.9-mile Algarve International Circuit for some full-speed laps. Here we had a chance to throw the R8 around a little and found it as easy as the last model to drive fast. It's possibly the easiest supercar to pilot that we've ever tested." -- Autoweek
  • "On the road home, spent but satisfied, I set the driving mode to Comfort and the R8 became as docile on the highway as it was furious on the track. The transmission kept the revs and engine wail low, shifting seamlessly, while the adjustable dampers made for a fairly comfortable ride. A street-legal race car that doubles as a daily driver. It's quite a combination." -- CNET

Acceleration and Power

Audi offers only one powertrain for the 2017 R8: a 5.2-liter V10 engine and a seven-speed automatic transmission. In the standard R8, this combination has a rating of 540 horsepower and a top speed of 199 mph. The R8 V10 Plus elevates performance to a higher level with its 610-horsepower output. It can sprint from zero to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds (three-tenths of a second faster than the non-Plus model) and can reach 205 mph. The transmission aids performance and shifts quickly and smoothly, with paddle shifters on the steering wheel. The standard V10 model comes with four drive modes (Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, and Individual), with V10 Plus trims gaining a fifth, Performance, mode.

The R8 is pretty thirsty, even for a luxury sports car. Its 14 mpg city/22 mpg highway is one of the lowest ratings in the class.

  • "Straight-line performance comes primarily from power, and the new R8 packs plenty: The base car gets a 540-horsepower rating that sits on a fat plateau from 7,800 rpm to 8,700 rpm – a screaming peak for the 5.2-liter V-10 engine behind the cabin. The R8 V10 Plus scores 610 hp, which arrives at 8,250 rpm and holds on until the 8,700 rpm redline." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The V-10's torque is transmitted to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, a gearbox that those who love both sports cars and automatics will find absolutely no fault with. It whips off gearchanges at lightning speed, and it works beautifully with the V-10, including throttle blips on downshifts and not-so-subtle backfires in the exhaust. Stick to Comfort mode, and the exhaust crackle disappears and the shifts become smoother. In fact, we think the engine sounds better in Comfort mode; the sound is muffled, but it seems more full-bodied and sophisticated than the angry blare you get when the exhaust flaps open." -- Car and Driver
  • "The naturally aspirated, 5.2-liter V-10 fires to life behind your head with a snarling roar before warming up and settling into a muted hum. If muted hum isn't your thing, you can push another button on the steering wheel to activate the sport exhaust feature, which makes the car's exhaust tone match its appearance. (I pushed it every single time I drove the car.) Power goes to all four wheels via Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system and a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission – the only gearbox offered on the R8 now that the manual transmission has been retired." -- Cars.com

Handling and Braking

The R8 is poised and smooth, kept in check by precise steering, powerful brakes, and standard all-wheel drive. The V10 uses a magnetic suspension that quickly reacts to changing road conditions and can be adjusted with the different driving modes. In V10 Plus trims, this is swapped for a fixed sport-tuned suspension system.

  • "The R8 Spyder turns in with laserlike precision, and it stays firmly planted on any road surface. The absence of body flex and road noise is remarkable for an open-top vehicle. Cornering speeds are so high that it's virtually impossible to approach the limits of adhesion at even remotely legal speeds." -- Car and Driver
  • "Even the brakes on the new R8 are remarkable, especially the carbon ceramics – standard on the V10 Plus, optional on the base car. They can be a bit grabby for around-town use, making smooth city stops a delicate affair. But when pushed, they deliver massive, phenomenal, easily modulated stopping power from 60 mph or 160 mph, the first time or the 50th." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "No matter the situation, you always have an accurate idea what it is about to do next. That's thanks to a thorough chassis retuning, a redesigned all-wheel drive system, a far lower center of gravity, and total weight savings of around 100 lbs. More firmly planted than ever, the R8 teaches the Porsche 911 a lesson in safety and predictability - especially in wet driving conditions." -- New York Daily News

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