2008 Audi R8 Long Term Road Test

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

February 13, 2009

R8 GT-R blog.jpg

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.
GT-R R8 buckets of death.jpg 4:39 PM Magrath : Handling-wise it's more traditional than the GT-R and it's very quick. But the GT-Rs grip -- both mechanical and electron-driven -- make it the faster car.
4:40 PM Sadlier : Maybe. Which feels better to you though?
4:44 PM Magrath : R8. But feel, like engine sound, is overrated.
4:45 PM Sadlier : Haha. Admit it, you're 1487.
4:46 PM Magrath : ..or a robot. I have been accused by a number of girls of lacking "real human emotions."
Magrath : I guess feel isn't overrated, because the Z06 is fast as heck and it feels terrible--spooky at the limit.
4:49 PM Sadlier : There you go
4:52 PM Magrath : Still the GT-R is better in every other area that eclipses the tighter steering and increased feedback of the Audi.
Sadlier : Well, also the Audi feels about 900 lbs lighter. And you're sitting low. That's cool.
4:56 PM Magrath : The low thing is neat, it's more of a classic sports car vs. a real car that will still kick its ass and let you be able to see around that bicyclist.
4:57 PM Magrath : and by "feels lighter" you mean "feels crashier"
Sadlier : I'm a fan of the classics
Sadlier : I don't know about crashier. It just feels light on its feet. Tossable, if you will
Magrath : Feh...Classic cars are lousy. They're cheap, they're floppy, they're uncomfortable, smelly and slow.
Sadlier : GT-R feels like a tank, and then it's like, holy crap, it sure doesn't drive like a tank. But it still feels like one.
4:58 PM Magrath : Exactly! It's like a driving a tank a million miles an hour in any circumstance
Sadlier : By classics I meant ancient Greece and Rome. Classic cars, I'll take a pass
Sadlier : And yeah, a tank like that is admirable, but it's still a tank
5:02 PM Magrath : But if fast is fast, why wouldn't you want to feel secure and solid? Why does floaty and rickety impress you? It's the classic debate between steel and wood roller coasters: on the one hand you have hyper-speed high-tech wonders riding on silicon wheels, on the other you have slow buckets of death riding on straightened coat hangers. Yet the fear of death at the hands of carnies who will steal your organs for lion meat is exciting....I don't get it.
5:03 PM Sadlier : Well, I'm not sure of a few things here, (1) that that debate can be called "classic," (2) that the R8 can be fairly characterized as a "slow bucket of death," and (3) that the carnies don't eat the organs themselves.
Magrath : I've wandered far from the original argument. Let's see if we can pick this up when I don't have an appt for a haircut.
5:04 PM Sadlier : Deal.

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