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2018 Audi R8 Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 9.5

The 2018 Audi R8 gets bad gas mileage. Let’s get that out of the way first because that’s the only bad news. The V10 powertrain delivers breathtaking power and acceleration, and the R8 has the outstanding agility required for you to let that power loose. It also has sharp steering and strong brakes, and all-wheel drive comes standard. This is one luxury sports car that’s as easy to drive as it is enjoyable.

  • "The Audi R8 V10 Plus delivers the performance expected of an exotic sports car. Acceleration is otherworldly, and handling is unflappable. What's surprising, though, is how easy it is to explore its incredible capabilities and how pleasant it drives when you're not dropping the hammer." -- Edmunds
  • "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 (2017)
  • "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 (2017)

Acceleration and Power

All R8 models feature a 5.2-liter V10 engine that puts out 540 horsepower in the standard Coupe and Spyder models and 610 horsepower in V10 Plus models. Either way, it’s blindingly fast. Coupe and Spyder models top out at 199 mph, while V10 Plus models can hit 205 mph and go from zero to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds. The 0-60 time in the base model is a tad slower at 3.5 seconds.

The seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission delivers smooth, timely shifts. There are paddle shifters on the steering wheel as well. The R8 lets you choose from four modes – Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, and Individual – that alter driving dynamics. V10 Plus models get a fifth mode called Performance.

Fuel economy estimates for the 2018 R8 run as high as 14 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway, down to 14/22 mpg city/highway. That’s one of the lowest ratings among luxury sports cars – but that’s the price you pay for unleashing the beast.

  • "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 (2017)
  • "The V-10's torque is transmitted to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. … 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." -- Car and Driver (2017)
  • "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." -- Cars.com (2017)

Handling and Braking

The Audi R8 handles like a dream. It features a magnetic suspension that can be adjusted with different driving modes, except in V10 Plus trims, which have a sport-tuned suspension. In any setup, the R8 delivers precise steering and outstanding agility. Sturdy brakes provide good stopping power, and Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system – which comes standard – provides excellent road grip.

  • "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 (2017)
  • "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 (2017)
  • "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." -- New York Daily News (2017)
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