2008 Audi R8 Long Term Road Test


2008 Audi R8: bald is bothersome

September 17, 2008

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Last weekend fate smiled as it handed me the keys to our 2008 Audi R8 for the weekend. When I turned around to leave, fate placed a kick-me sign on my back and and rushed off to wind up the giant boot that kicked me swiftly in the buttocks.

Since the R8's transmission is almost as bad as the smart's in casual driving (it may be as bad, but the extra 350hp over the smart make up for a lot) and it can carry fewer items than your average Radio Flyer, my weekend was shaping up pretty nice: no errands and lots of roads that, when viewed aerially, look like a handful of tapeworms thrown onto a carpet.

It only took a few minutes of driving before I realized this plan was not going to work out as well as I'd hoped. Merging onto the freeway the Audi cut power and the traction control light illuminated. In the remaining 8 miles to my apartment traction control turned on no less than four times and, sensing a pattern, was fully disabled (by me) once when I came across a big puddle on a 6-lane road. (I'm weak when it comes to weather-related shenanigans.) I checked the tires the following day when the sun was out. While -- as visible in the picture above-- they look ok, a tactile inspection reveals the truth: there was no groove left. Someone got the last of the excellent grip afforded by quasi-shaved tires and left me with two slick rubber tubes that never held on. Needless to say, this made my drives much slower, much more interesting and caused the AWD system much more trouble.

"R8 needs rear tires ASAP" my text to Schmidt read on Sunday morning. Monday I called Stokes Tire Pros to place the order.

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This picture shows the extent of the wear more clearly. The new tires (Pirelli PZero R01s, 295/30ZR19 100Y) took a day to arrive and were installed within an hour of the car's arrival.

Cost? A lot. $584.97 EACH (for comparison our Long Term Ford GT's rear meats were $350/ea. Audi of Santa Monica quoted me at $704 a piece for the same tires.) Installation ran another $102.52 bringing the grand total for this job to $1,272.46.

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 18,790 miles

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