2008 Audi R8 Long Term Road Test

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2008 Audi R8: Our Favorite Caption

April 24, 2009

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Thanks to teapot for this week's favorite caption.

You're always inspired by pictures of the Audi R8. There were a lot of great entries this week. Here are some other goodies:

Gee I can see Russia from my car (toye)
Great, thanks guys. Don't you know that cameras add 10 pounds? (threem)
You will be assimilated, resistance is futile. (mike63amg)
That's the last time I leave my car with Q for the weekend. (wshuff)
Audi Park Assist beta (texases)
This is NOT what i had in mind when you told me the cameras would be on me all day! (e10rice)
In Soviet Russia, car takes picture of YOU (zoomzoom97)
I said I wanted CANNONS, not CANONS! (gooney911)
You lookn' at me?!? (cts24)
So fast the rearview cameras have to face forward. (mnorm1)

What was your favorite?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2008 Audi R8: You Write the Caption

March 06, 2009

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Our photogenic Audi R8 lends itself to many caption contest situations.

This pic was taken at career day at a local school. Brian Moody made a presentation about being an automotive journalist.

He also came up with this caption: "Meet the Inside Line staff."
Bryn offered up: "What the frunk? Where did all of these kids come from?"
I give you: "Kid tested, Editor approved"

I know you can do better.

Disclaimer: No children were harmed in the making of this caption contest, although they were forced to wear funny costumes.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2008 Audi R8: A few pros and cons vs GT-R

March 02, 2009

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I rolled in the R8 this weekend for the first time in a while. I have, though, have been fortunate to spend some time in the GT-R. Let's compare a few items:

1. Although both are AWD, the R8 has a rear-drive feeling. The handling is light and neutral, while in the R35, you can feel the front wheels clawing away, following nearly every rain-groove in the pavement. On the R35, it's not a heavy steering feeling, but you can definitely feel the fronts contributing to forward progress.

2. On the R8, it's easy to light up the rear tires: they'll break free and spin a decent bit just by mashing the A-pedal. Yes, you can get some rear tire spin on the R35, but it will be less than on the R8, before the VDM kills it.

3. Transmissions: the R35 dual-clutch is amazingly good: a monkey can shift it positively and quickly. And I never longed for a manual. The only good thing about the R8's 6-speed R-tronic auto-shifted-manual mess is that it doesn't make crunching noises as on the R35. It's also hard for the R8 driver to control the severe back and forth pitching in the lower gears. Annoying.

I've never driven an R8 with a manual transmission, but it must be really nice, as the R-tronic (and some reliability issues) is the only major shortcoming on this beautiful and great-to-drive car. Well, that and the $120K price tag.

Albert Austria, Sr Vehicle Evaluation Engineer @ 29,151 miles

[Photo by Scott Jacobs: This was awarded the cover of the 2009 Motor Press Guild Media Guide.]

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2008 Audi R8 Transmission: Hated by Car Guys and Non-Car Guys Alike

February 23, 2009

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Logistical issues forced the wife into the Audi R8's driver seat over the weekend (she had to go somewhere alone, and I had to go somewhere with the kids). A quick rundown of the car's basic quirks ("Push the shifter toward 'A' to be in fully automatic mode. Watch the low front-end's ground clearance. Don't be freaked out by people taking cell phone photos." etc.) took about five minutes; then she was off.

Her trip was about three miles in pure stop-and-go driving, which were probably the worst conditions she could have faced. I fully expected to hear complaints about the R-Tronic transmission.

Her first words on return, "Is there something wrong with this car? I was convinced I was doing something wrong because of the uneven throttle response and acceleration. I hated all the attention it was getting because I'm sure it looked like I didn't know how to drive it."

I told her that's the way it's supposed to work. She asked the price. I told her $120,000. She didn't seem interested in driving it again and happily went back to her 2004 Chevy Malibu.

Karl Brauer, Edmunds.com Editor in Chief at 28,636 miles

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2008 Audi R8: Visibility

February 17, 2009

I can see clearly now the rain is gone. The Audi R8 has incredible visibility for such a low riding car with a huge engine in the back window.

This 40-second video shows you out the front and side windows and into the mirrors.

You really can drive the Audi R8 as an every day ride. It's an incredible supercar that is as comfortable and easy to handle as any normal car.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 28,482 miles

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2008 Audi R8 vs. 2009 Nissan GT-R: Buckets of Death

February 13, 2009

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Note: No human organs were harmed in the making of this textcast, which actually happened yesterday, verbatim, over IM. A preemptive answer to the inevitable question -- yes, Magrath hails from a family of carnies, so he would know.

3:26 PM Sadlier: So how's the reprogrammed GT-R?
Magrath: VDC allows less wheelspin now and it smacks you down more, but it's smoother, easier to launch and faster.
Sadlier: Interesting
3:28 PM Magrath: There's no thought anymore...just floor both pedals and then release the brake...it's great. So little drama now.
3:29 PM Sadlier: Sounds like PDK. What's the procedure with the settings, same as before?
3:34 PM Magrath: Nope. Leave everything in A.
Sadlier: Neat
3:43 PM Magrath: So there's no more screwing around with electrics...just brake torque the car when the other light turns yellow and it hangs at 3K until you're ready to drop the hammer.
3:44 PM Sadlier: Like PDK, except you have to hit the "sport plus" button
3:53 PM Magrath: Yep...and Nissan's paddles work the correct way (if you use 'em)
Sadlier: Sure do
3:54 PM Magrath: ...trying hard not to start Porsche bashing...
3:56 PM Sadlier: Oh come on, those buttons are a heritage feature, celebrating the historic achievements of Tiptronic.
3:57 PM Magrath: Maybe it's an intentional move by Porsche to piss off real drivers so that they will continue buying the manual so they can continue building manuals.
3:58 PM Sadlier: Yeah, might be the only way they could hit their claimed target of 50/50 sales.
Sadlier: Otherwise I can't imagine more than, I dunno, 25% of Americans would eschew PDK for a stick.
4:01 PM Magrath: If it worked right from a human interface perspective I'd be buying a PDK...and I guess installing it in something I like
Sadlier: ...such as the R8. Which, good lord willing, will have PDK before too long.
4:06 PM Magrath: I'm over the R8. More clutches can't help it now.
4:07 PM Sadlier: Ha, you're over it? I actually developed a crush on it today. I think you once told me that the R8's motor should be in every car; whether you said that or not, I agree.
4:08 PM Magrath: I did.
Magrath: But the car I'm over. Read my post where I called it desperate, and for the desperate. I still feel that way.
Sadlier: Yeah I remember that one
Sadlier: What I like about the R8 is that behind the slightly desperate look-at-me styling, it's a bitchin' car. Driving it makes me forget about the styling.
4:11 PM Magrath: But keep this in mind: You always have to get in and out. It doesn't even have a t-top that would allow the super-rich but still not desperate to install a complex slide system by which they are injected via lightless tube directly into the cockpit.
Sadlier: An excellent point.
Sadlier: Should have been a "con" in my R8 model review.

4:19 PM Magrath: By the way, make sure you drive the G-wagen short-termer before it leaves. It's the third best car in the world.
4:34 PM Sadlier: I plan to tomorrow actually. What are the first two?
Magrath: GT-R, S65 AMG.
4:35 PM Sadlier: Hmm, GT-R ahead of R8?
Magrath: WAY ahead.
Sadlier: My drive today convinced me that the R8 is better
4:36 PM Magrath: ...unless you try to get in or out of it, and unless you try to use the nav...and unless you try to connect an iPod...or if you want to be faster than a GT-R
Sadlier: Yeah, in terms of driving experience though, R8 vs. GT-R is a great example of 0-60 bragging rights becoming totally irrelevant when you're on a twisty road
4:37 PM Magrath: Twisty road the R8 is still slower.
Sadlier: But not by much, eh? I seem to remember the R8 doing very well in that Glendora drive, i.e., better than its acceleration deficit would predict. Suggesting that handling-wise, it might have a leg up on the GT-R.

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2008 Audi R8: AM Reception = Epic Fail

February 09, 2009

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When buying a high-end audio receiver it's not uncommon to discover pathetic (or worse) radio performance. The reception and sound quality of the built-in AM/FM tuners these receivers offer likely keeps Nikola Tesla doing the twist in his grave. So maybe I shouldn't be surprised by the crackly cachophany spewing from the R8's speakers while trying to enjoy my favorite local AM radio station -- but I am.

Call my crazy, but when the sticker price passes $100,000 I expect basic automotive features, like clear AM reception, to be a non-issue. Alas, it was more like listening to a bad thunderstorm sound effects tape. At least the Sirius satellite reception worked as advertised.

Karl Brauer, Edmunds.com Editor in Chief @ 28,255 miles

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2008 Audi R8: Awesome Drive

February 05, 2009

Audi_R8.JPG

I took our Audi R8 out to my mountain-road drive route, one that I've been using for a couple years now and most recently drove in our long-term GT-R. Quite simply, the R8 rocked -- it was the most memorable drive I've had in a long time.

Considering that the R8 is the most expensive car in our fleet (about 3.5 times as much as our 135i), maybe this shouldn't be a surprise. But the difference between the GT-R -- a car that betters the R8 in many hard-number performance tests -- and the R8 was simply stunning.

Thanks to its direct and communicative steering, I instantly felt comfortable with the R8. There's a unexpected level of driver-car connection present, and the R8's ability to change direction while remaining stable and compliant with the road was remarkable. Based on its responses and petite dimensions, you'd never guess that it weighs around 3,600 pounds.

The throaty V8 is plenty strong and sounds great. Too bad the R tronic transmission is still bollocks. But on this drive, at least, my aggressive throttle inputs along with use of the sport mode and lifting off the throttle for upshifts reduced the jerkiness a lot. Plus, it still did trick rev-matched downshifts, and you can left-foot brake, too.

Like the GT-R, the R8's capabilities are too high to fully explore on a public road. But with the added confidence I had in the R8, I was having more fun -- and likely going faster -- even though their capabilities are so similar. (It would have been interesting to have the retired long-term Brauermobile Ford GT along, as Karl recently compared it to the GT-R . As a substitute, though, check out Jacquot's Ultimate Performance Car Test we published last May, which puts together the R8, GT-R and a 911.)

At $132,745, our R8 is no bargain. But ever since this drive, the thought of getting a used R8 V10 many years down the road seems like a grand idea.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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