2008 Audi R8 Coupe Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Audi R8 Coupe

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Audi R8 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 4.2 L V 8-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 420 hp @ 7800 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 13/20 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 Audi R8

  • The 2008 Audi R8's unique mechanical layout, high-tech content, everyday drivability, and original style make it an intriguing exotic for those seeking more than just raw performance.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Admirable balance of handling ability and ride comfort, high-tech suspension and transmission, roomy cockpit, upscale interior design and materials, easy-to-drive nature.

  • Cons

    Can't match the straight-line pace of a Porsche 911 Turbo or Corvette Z06, lack of factory-supplied customizing features.

  • What's New for 2008

    The 2008 Audi R8 debuts as the brand's first midengine exotic sports car. Highlights include aggressive styling, an aluminum body structure, a 420-horsepower V8 and all-wheel drive.

Full 2008 Audi R8 Review

What's New for 2008

The 2008 Audi R8 debuts as the brand's first midengine exotic sports car. Highlights include aggressive styling, an aluminum body structure, a 420-horsepower V8 and all-wheel drive.


High horsepower and low quarter-mile times are great and all, but in an era when speed comes cheaper than ever, any manufacturer that expects to launch a successful six-figure sports car out of the blue had better bring something unique to the table. The midengine 2008 Audi R8 could be just the thing.

Certain design aspects of the R8 might bring to mind a Porsche, a Corvette or the late Acura NSX, but because the R8 carries a 4.2-liter V8 in its midsection, sends 420 hp to all four wheels, offers two transmissions and wraps it all in an aluminum space frame, this Audi clearly has its own attitude. The only car coming close to that description wears the name Lamborghini Gallardo -- no surprise, as that midengine exotic provided the basic blueprints for this one. Audi's $70-grand-lower price tag ensures the competition will be minimal, as does the R8's two fewer cylinders and 100 fewer horsepower.

Yet the R8 is undoubtedly fast. Sixty miles per hour comes up in 4.4 seconds, a quoted top speed of 187 mph arrives not much later, and tire grip approaches a full g -- all par for this potent class. Among the bigger differences: the R8 lets its driver exploit that speed through a six-speed manual or "R tronic" transmission (Audi's newest take on the clutchless manual); Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive allows hard driving with an extra degree of confidence; and perhaps above all, the R8 incorporates Audi's usual concessions to comfort rather than raw performance. Consider its advanced, ride-friendly electromagnetic shock absorbers, for instance.

When one looks at what Audi has done with its R8 and the focus on performance and everyday comfort, it's pretty obvious that the intended target is Porsche's 911. Impressively, the 2008 Audi R8 stands tall in just about every possible measure, and it's more controllable at the limit than the rear-engined Porsche. However, pricing is such that the R8 competes against some true exotics, such as the 911 Turbo, the Aston Martin V8 and the new Maserati GranTurismo. Among this group, the R8's drawbacks include less steering feel and a lack of possible customization through the factory. Still, to those who prefer the "middle ground" of driving sports cars, appreciate all-wheel drive and have an eye for Audi's innovative interiors, the R8 stands as the obvious choice.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Audi R8 comes as a two-door, midengine, all-wheel-drive coupe. Standard equipment includes 19-inch wheels, a retractable rear spoiler (operates automatically or manually), xenon headlights, LED brake lights and turn signals, leather-and-Alcantara suede power-adjustable sport seats, aluminum trim, automatic climate control and a seven-speaker CD stereo.

Major extra options are limited to carbon-fiber "sideblade" exterior styling panels, a Bang & Olufsen premium stereo, a navigation system and upgraded napa leather upholstery. There's also the Convenience Package, which contains parking sensors, a six-disc CD changer, hill holder assist, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a HomeLink transceiver and auto-dimming rearview mirrors.

Powertrains and Performance

The Audi R8 uses a midmounted 4.2-liter V8 making 420 hp and 317 pound-feet of torque, thanks in part to direct fuel injection and a high compression ratio. Power gets sent to all four wheels (56 percent to the rears in normal conditions) through one of two transmissions: a traditional six-speed manual or Audi's six-speed R tronic -- essentially a manual transmission with a single computer-controlled clutch that allows shifting via the lever or steering wheel-mounted paddles. R tronic offers a fully automatic mode as well. In testing, we've found that the manual-shift R8 accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and passes the quarter-mile in 12.8 seconds.


The 2008 Audi R8 protects both occupants with seat-mounted side airbags and knee-protecting airbags. Antilock disc brakes, traction control and stability control are all standard.

Interior Design and Special Features

The R8 continues Audi's tradition of originality in interior design, employing a cockpit-style theme that the company calls monoposto, an arc of controls that wraps around the driver in the style of a single-seat racing car. Aluminum is a prominent element of the R8's creative surface treatments, and the flat-bottomed steering wheel is certainly unique. The car's long wheelbase and roomy cabin allow room for tall drivers, and long doors ease access. Unusual for a high-end sports car, the R8 offers plenty of storage spaces and useful cupholders. Audi says there's space behind the seats to store two golf bags. There's also a small capacity (3.5-cubic-foot) front trunk.

Driving Impressions

Everyday drivability is the foundation for the 2008 Audi R8. The R8 is almost as quiet and easygoing as Audi's own sedans, partly thanks to electromechanical steering, plus shock absorbers whose electromagnetically controlled fluid adapts to the road surface. 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. Only in terms of steering feel does the R8 seem to be a little less visceral than the 911, and when driven at the limit, the midengine Audi is easier to control than the rear-engined Porsche. We recommend choosing the traditional manual transmission, as Audi's R tronic can occasionally be a bit fussy in day-to-day driving situations due to its delayed shifting reactions.

Read our Audi R8 Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

No regrets

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Audi R8 quattro 2dr Coupe AWD (4.2L 8cyl 6AM)

I've had this car nearly a year, and it earns all the accolades it has received in the extensive press coverage. It has enough power for street use even if slightly underpowered. Although it handles nearly as good as anything out there at 10/10ths, most non-professionals could likely get closer to the limits without tragedy than in other high- performance cars. Although it is borderline in power for an exotic, it's appeal is definitely in the exotic category. It is also incredibly comfortable, and I've had no problem issues in 11,000 miles. Versus its class, it has tremendous fuel economy.

As good as expected or

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Audi R8 quattro 2dr Coupe AWD (4.2L 8cyl 6AM)

The car is incredible. It is so comfortable and practical (for what it is) that it could easily be a daily driver. Everywhere it goes it gets the looks and gawks of admirers while also the challneges and revs of the wannabes. Love the car...can't think of another under 400k I'd rather have.

The incredible r8

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Audi R8 quattro 2dr Coupe AWD (4.2L 8cyl 6M)

Audi got this car right! The fact that this car is mentioned in the same breath as a Porsche 911 Turbo and other high end sports cars says a lot about a car that didn't exist 2 years ago. The R8 drives like it is on rails and sticks like paint. Be prepared to be stared at in the R8 and watch as little kids point at it. The engine sounds awesome. I have considered many sports cars but $ for $ there is no better one out there. Probably why there is a 2 year wait for it. Do whatever you can and get one

From a twin turbo convertible

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Audi R8 quattro 2dr Coupe AWD (4.2L 8cyl 6AM)

Picked up my R8 this week after having deposit down for a year. I traded in my '04 911 turbo convertible. While I do miss the convertible, the Audi's exclusivity and sense of driving is second to none. The build quality surpassed my expectations and the sound when driving the car is amazing. I let a friend drive it and when I heard the car coming down the road, it sounded like a hurricane blowing in. Amazing. Everywhere one goes it captures a crowd and the looks of this car make it the best looking car on the road in my opinion. I have always been a Porsche guy, but am thrilled.

Audi r8 ... awesome

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Audi R8 quattro 2dr Coupe AWD (4.2L 8cyl 6AM)

This car has it all. Striking styling, elegant interior, craftsman-quality of build and mind-blowing performance and handling. After 2000 miles I am only beginning to explore the limits of this vehicle which, despite its breathtaking performance, is comfortable and driveable as an every day car. The after sales care from Audi USA and my dealership have far exceeded my expectations. It attracts unbelievable attention everywhere I go.

Audi r8

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Audi R8 quattro 2dr Coupe AWD (4.2L 8cyl 6M)

This is one amazing piece of craftsmanship. Audi has really stepped up their game far beyond what they have ever been. The only downfall is everything is a option. It made it so much more pricey. I know it's money well spent, but it's like Ferrari, everything is an option. The sound system, bluetooth connection, navigation system and the convenience package are all worth paying for. The performance from this vehicle is such a dream. It changes direction so effectively. The braking is okay, a little touchy, but it stops the car in short distances. It's a manufactured perfection basically.

Talk About The 2008 R8

2008 Audi R8 Discussions See all Started By

2008 Audi R8 Long Term Road Test We lived with the 2008 Audi R8 for a year. Read all about our daily driving experiences in our long-term road test....

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My gosh, this article is as boring as can be. Especially when one considers that it's about the R8. Maybe it's me, but JUERGEN ZOELLTER, who apparently drove the car, wouldn't get excited if someone...

Gas Mileage


  • 13
  • cty
  • 20
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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