2008 Audi R8: 820 Miles In Audi's Exotic
October 03, 2008
I had a biz trip to Phoenix and was given a couple of flying options. So I declined the hassle of airports and took Audi's land-locked jet instead. On the wide-open stretches of Interstate 10, where you see nothing but desert and the horizon, I let the car stretch its legs a bit. I say "a bit" because my cruising speeds varied from 85-100 mph (with the assistance of a Valentine One radar detector). Yes, not even breathing hard.
The R8 will supposedly top 185, but though I enjoyed a couple of high-speed bursts, I didn't deem it necessary to fully explore that claim. Maybe I'm getting old...
As impressive as the effortless high-speed cruising is, so too was the R8's literally cool demeanor and overall comfort. With the temps above 100 degrees for most of the way and the A/C keeping the cabin nice and cool, the Audi's coolant temp never budged above the half-way mark. A hundred and one at 101 was no sweat. And my back and butt had no complaints with the driver seat, even though I was disappointed that it lacked a few expected adjustments, such as under-thigh and side-wing supports.
What's not to like? Well, you've heard it before, but I'll throw my two cents in anyway; the R tronic tranny is like a zit on the face of this gorgeous model. In normal, low-speed driving, it's so annoying the way it sometimes jerks to and fro when in automatic mode. Gimme the manual six-speed and all would be perfect in R8 land.
Oh yeah, I averaged 17.1 mpg for the trip, just one mpg below the EPA's highway estimate. Not enjoying the V8's thrust and glorious sound would've probably netted me a few mpg higher.
John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 21,339 miles