2008 Audi R8 Long Term Road Test


2008 Audi R8: Cruising the Big Easy

June 17, 2008

According to Wikipedia the priest-chronicler Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix described the city of New Orleans in 1721 as a place of a hundred wretched hovels in a malarious wet thicket of willows and dwarf palmettos, infested by serpents and alligators.

Yup. Sounds about right. And at this very moment they're all looking at an Audi R8 cruising Bourbon street... It's about 11 AM, so most of the bars are closed and there are only several dozen visibly intoxicated serpents and alligators looking for a public place to relieve them selves.

Yo, not on the car, dude.

The tight confines of the French Quarter, which is thriving despite being under water a couple of years ago, would normally knock a mid-engine supercar off its rung. But not the R8. The same wonderful machine that got us here on 469 miles of mindless interstate, is just as wonderful on these heavily crowded, heavily potholed streets.

No it isn't a Lexus, but it's certainly comfortable. And compared to that Nissan GT-R I drove 2,000 miles a couple of months ago, it is a Lexus. Even the R tronic transmission, which we honestly didn't want, now makes all the sense in the world. We've been stuck behind a horse and buggy for ten blocks, but with the transmission in Auto mode, its been very easy to work my Blackberry while dodging the animal's sizable stool.

Although part throttle take off and upshifts still aren't as smooth as a conventional automatic, they're better than we've experienced in other cars with similar gearboxes. Hate to say it, but if your R8 is going to spend most of its time in the city R tronic just might be the way to go.

Now, what are these beads for?

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief @ 7,510 miles

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