Supercars are currently flourishing as manufacturers use these technological masterpieces as halo products to showcase their individual company’s design capabilities, innovative safety technologies, and a wealth of new ideas to the consumer.
Unfortunately, most supercars are uber-expensive, require specialized service protocols, can be difficult to live with in congested urban environments, and lack the utility required to meet the daily transportation requirements of the average consumer.
An affordable supercar
This is where the Audi R8 comes in. This German dream machine emerged from the shadows at Ingolstadt just over a decade ago, and has since become one of the most popular, and iconic, cars in the marketplace. Its relatively low price (for this category of automobile) and large dealer network has made it the go-to car for those enthusiast drivers looking for an ultra-high-performance vehicle that won’t break the bank, but that is still capable of turning a few heads while conveying the lucky driver’s lofty position in society. The real bonus is that the R8 is one of the few cars of this type that is reliable enough to comfortably use as a daily driver, and with the help of Audi’s phenomenal quattro all-wheel-drive system, the R8 driver can operate this sultry speed merchant all year round (when the car is equipped with suitable tires).
Audi R8 V10 Plus Coupé: DNA from the R8 LMS race car
In its most potent form sits the Audi R8 V10 plus Coupé, a car that represents the most powerful automobile the stalwart German brand has ever released for road (or track) use. In fact, the road car delivers more power than the company’s stunning Le Mans endurance racing machines, and is said to share over 50% of its parts with the Audi R8 LMS race car, including an Audi Space Frame that’s 95% similar, as well as its V10 engine.
2017 Audi R8 horsepower and performance
Nestled immediately behind the driver resides a 5.2-litre DOHC V10 fitted with Direct Injection. This amazing power plant produces a prodigious 610 horsepower (@ 8,250 rpm) and 413 lb.-ft of torque (@ 6,500 rpm). This is a full 70 ponies more than the standard R8, and is a number the R8 plus shares with its much more expensive cousin, the Lamborghini Huracán. Audi is so proud of this jewel of an engine that it remains visible for the world to see in all its glory beneath an oversized window in the rear bonnet. A robust strut-tower brace is also on display further hinting at this car’s potent performance capabilities.
0-100km/h in 3.3-seconds
Accelerating is a visceral experience that will leave you breathless, as G-forces push your torso into the sculpted sport bucket as you sprint to 100 km/h in an astonishing 3.3 seconds. The 7-speed S-tronic dual clutch manumatic gearbox works its magic to execute shifts with lightning speed and precision. Gone is the availability of a manual transmission, but should you wish to select your own shift points, the car’s paddle shift levers respond as quickly as you can manipulate them.
The aural symphony of the high-revving V10 is worth the price of admission on its own accord, especially when the tachometer approaches its 8,700 rpm redline. The glorious combination of growls and wails emitted from the sport exhaust system will forever taunt you into driving with the windows down and seeking out tunnels along your travels.
Naturally Aspirated: Well-balanced
Being naturally aspirated power delivery is linear and unfettered, but the car is so well balanced and planted that the driver remains confident throughout the duration of this E-Ticket ride. Quattro utilizes a variable torque distribution system that is now capable of sending 100-percent of the power to either the front or rear wheels as needed, essentially guaranteeing maximum traction at all times. Talk about a confidence booster.
A supercar needs super stopping power. As a result, Audi engineers have fitted the car with 6-piston fixed caliper front brakes, and 4-piston fixed caliper rear brakes. The brake discs themselves are made of carbon-fiber reinforced ceramic with specially developed cooling channels, and are internally ventilated and perforated to expel heat. During my test period the braking system never faltered, as there was no sign of fade or duress. The response to my pedal inputs was immediate and the car was brought under control quickly and free of excess drama, further enhancing my confidence in this car’s capabilities.
2017 R8 Design
Auto manufacturers often stray too far from what made their original concept vehicles great when they revamp and revise them to create a second generation example, but this is not the case with the new R8. The car is immediately recognizable as an Audi, as its sexy curves and aerodynamically sculpted profile retain the core elements of its forebear. Slender light housings and more aggressive front and rear fascias feature prominently on the new design, and the bold new grille treatment gives the car a more modern face. My one complaint is the decision to shrink the size of the car’s unique side-blade- a near vertical panel usually painted a contrasting colour or made of carbon fibre which graced the rear quarter of the first generation cars. The blade is now a split design, bisected by the beltline of the new car, and while attractive, it doesn’t quite offer the visual punch of the former design.
Being naturally aspirated power delivery is linear and unfettered, but the car is so well balanced and planted that the driver remains confident throughout the duration of this E-Ticket ride.
The plus package also fits a fixed wing to the rear of the car, as well as a pronounced diffuser. Both of these elements are comprised of carbon fibre and are present for actual function rather than just sporty looks. In fact, these aerodynamic aides help generate greater downforce and improve grip in corners. The potent combination of dynamic steering, a mid-engine design, and an ultra-stiff and lightweight body and chassis guarantees enthusiast friendly handling. The R8 Plus also benefits from a cutting edge Magnetic Ride system which utilizes stiffer springs and dampers which effectively communicate what the car is doing at street level through the driver’s seat and steering wheel while helping maintain maximum traction.
The R8 plus is also equipped with another innovation, that being laser lights. This advanced lighting system helps take some of the stress out of traveling at night, or in inclement weather, as the laser lights deliver unsurpassed illumination for their diminutive size, with further reach and more intensity than lesser designs.
In the cockpit
Sliding into the cockpit it is obvious that the car’s cabin is all business. The layout of the dash and controls makes operation of accessories and equipment intuitive in short order. All instrumentation and switchgear is situated within easy reach of both hand and eye, and the elaborate, flat-bottomed steering wheel is outfitted with both the ignition button and other controls to alter the performance characteristics of the car (driving mode selector, sport exhaust and traction control systems) with ease.
There is seating for two, with plenty of hip-, leg-, and headroom, and there is a small recess for storage behind the twin sport buckets. Rearward visibility isn’t optimal, but is better than that in many of this car’s rivals. Fortunately, the R8 Plus is equipped with efficient side mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, a rear view camera, and Audi Side Assist (blind spot indicator) to help alleviate some of the visibility issues.
Like most of Audi’s products, the design of the car’s passenger cabin is ergonomically efficient and uncluttered. It represents the perfect blend of form and function, and is both sport-inspired and luxurious. The overall quality of the fit-and-finish is equally impressive, and most surfaces and trim pieces demonstrate the company’s focus on producing a premium product for its customers.
The real bonus is that the R8 is one of the few cars of this type that is reliable enough to comfortably use as a daily driver, and with the help of Audi’s phenomenal quattro all-wheel-drive system, the R8 driver can operate this sultry speed merchant all year round…
Audi’s futuristic virtual cockpit is employed as the car’s instrument panel, and drivers will quickly appreciate how well it facilitates the distribution of visual data. It features a vibrant, high-visibility TFT screen measuring 12.3-inches across, which effectively replaces a multitude of analog gauges, LCD screens and traditional dials. It is also highly customizable, as the operator has the ability at the touch of a button to select from several configurations as to what information they wish to have most prominently displayed. If monitoring performance is the main priority, then placing the speedometer and tachometer centre stage may be the order of the day, but the screen can also showcase navigation maps and route details, camera functions and various Multi-Media Interface (MMI) options. For those familiar with Audi’s MMI, you will be pleased to hear that it has been revamped to be more intuitive and simpler to use.
Takeaway: is 2017 Audi R8 V10 Plus worth it?
Second generation products often fall short of the original designs that spawn them, as designers need to find a balance between evolution and revolution when it comes to creating versions 2.0 and beyond. This is especially true when you create a car as special and unique as the original Audi R8. However, if this new car is any indication of things to come from the product planners at Audi AG, I think that it is safe to say that the company is on course to continue to demonstrate its superiority when it comes to turning out some of the most technologically advanced and beautiful cars the world has ever seen.
2017 Audi R8 V10 Plus Gallery:
2017 Audi R8 Plus Technical Specifications:
- Base price (MSRP): $213,900 CAD – $164,150 US
- Price as tested: $224,285 CAD – approx. $167,326 US
- Type: Mid-engine, 2-seat, all-wheel-drive super car
- Engine: 5.2-litre V10 DOHC / 40V / Direct Injection
- Transmission: 7-speed S-tronic dual clutch manumatic
- Horsepower: 610 @ 8,250 rpm
- Torque (lb.ft): 413 @ 6,500 rpm
- 0-100 km/h: 3.3 seconds
- Top speed: 330 km/h
- Brakes: Four-wheel carbon-fiber reinforced ceramic discs
- Suspension: Double-wishbone front and rear
- Fuel economy (L/100km): City 16.5; Highway 11.2