2009 Audi R8 Coupe Review | Edmunds.com

2009 Audi R8 Coupe

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Audi R8 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 4.2 L V 8-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 420 hp @ 7800 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 12/19 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2009 Audi R8

  • The attention-grabbing 2009 Audi R8 is an immensely capable supercar that's docile enough to be driven every day. However, it's far from the quickest car in this segment, and the price of entry is steep.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Fantastic V8 engine, world-class handling, comfortable cabin, easy to drive, slick gated manual shifter.

  • Cons

    Relatively pricey given its performance numbers, clunky R tronic automated manual transmission, scant cargo space, a few chintzy interior plastics.

  • What's New for 2009

    A six-CD changer is standard on the 2009 Audi R8, as is Bluetooth connectivity.

Full 2009 Audi R8 Review

What's New for 2009

A six-CD changer is standard on the 2009 Audi R8, as is Bluetooth connectivity.


Passers-by in Los Angeles are as automotively jaded as they come, thanks to the endless stream of exotic sports cars roaring down the city's numerous boulevards. The 2009 Audi R8, however, is the perfect antidote to their indifference. Maybe it's the relative scarcity of these midengine all-wheel-drive supercars, or maybe the distinctive low-slung design is just that sexy. Whatever the case, the R8 attracts more stares from Angelenos than Al Gore at an OPEC meeting.

That kind of curb appeal is exactly what many buyers in this rarefied segment are looking for -- but they'd better be prepared to pay dearly. With a base price well over $100,000, the R8 is tens of thousands of dollars more expensive than such high-performance luminaries as the BMW M3, Chevrolet Corvette Z06, Nissan GT-R and Porsche 911. What's more, while the Audi's sonorous V8 makes it thrillingly quick, the GT-R and Z06 are quicker still, as is the competitively priced 911 GT3. Only when one considers that the R8 is based on the exclusive Lamborghini Gallardo does its price tag seem somewhat reasonable.

Considered on its own merits, though, the R8 is an awesome car. It all starts with that 4.2-liter 420-horsepower V8, which is one of our favorite engines currently in production. Power is sent to all four wheels in typical Audi fashion, and it's supported by communicative steering and brilliant handling. Inside, the R8 is impressively roomy for such a squat car, and the nicely shaped seats afford ride-all-day comfort. Along with its tolerable ride quality, this makes the R8 an exotic sports car you can genuinely live with every day. In fact, we'd venture to say that the R8 is one of the most accommodating supercars ever produced.

The 2009 Audi R8's shortcomings are few. Most glaringly, the optional automated manual R tronic transmission sucks too much joy out of the driving experience, delivering delayed, clunky upshifts. Also, there's an engine under the hatch and not much space in the nose-mounted trunk, so good luck carrying any cargo. And finally, there's that price tag -- for the same price as an R8, you could buy a GT-R or a Z06 and an Audi S5 coupe, which is powered by a lesser version of the R8's V8. But this doesn't change the fact that the R8 is one of the world's most desirable cars. We turn our heads, too, whenever we hear one purring past.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Audi R8 is a two-door midengine AWD exotic sports car. Standard equipment includes 19-inch wheels, a retractable rear spoiler, xenon headlights, LED brake lights and turn signals, leather and Alcantara upholstery, power-adjustable sport seats, aluminum trim, automatic climate control, Bluetooth connectivity and a seven-speaker stereo with a six-CD changer.

Optional are carbon-fiber "sideblade" exterior styling panels, a Bang & Olufsen premium stereo, a navigation system and upgraded Napa leather upholstery. There's also the Convenience Package, which contains parking sensors, auto-dimming rearview mirrors and a "hill-holder" feature for models equipped with the conventional manual transmission.

Powertrains and Performance

The R8 sports a midmounted 4.2-liter V8 -- clearly visible through the R8's distinctive transparent engine cover -- that churns out 420 hp and 317 pound-feet of torque. Power flows to all four wheels (56 percent to the rears by default) through either a traditional six-speed manual transmission or Audi's six-speed R tronic automated manual. The latter features a computer-controlled clutch and can be shifted using either the console-mounted shift lever or steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The R tronic also offers a fully automatic mode.

In performance testing, we hustled a manual-shift R8 from zero to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, dispatching the quarter-mile in 12.7 seconds at nearly 111 mph. In the R tronic model, our times increased to 4.6 seconds and 12.8 seconds at 108.4 mph. EPA fuel economy estimates stand at 13 mpg city/20 highway and 15 combined for cars equipped with the conventional manual transmission, while the R tronic lowers the highway estimate to 19 mpg.


Standard safety equipment includes antilock disc brakes, stability control, seat-mounted side airbags and knee-protecting airbags.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 2009 Audi R8 features an attractive interior with high-quality materials, although there are a few cheap-feeling bits, such as the hard plastic on the center console and the substandard emergency brake handle. The center stack swoops elegantly toward the windshield; however, this design requires the driver to lean forward in order to adjust certain controls. Also awkward is the race-inspired flat-bottomed steering wheel -- it may not telescope out far enough for those with long legs. The seats are superbly contoured for both hard driving and long-distance cruising.

Unlike in most newer Audis, the R8's Multi Media Interface (MMI) controls are mounted below the LCD screen on the center stack, which is less convenient than their typical location on the center console. Audi claims there's room behind the seats for two golf bags -- your results may vary. There are also 3.5 cubic feet of cargo space in the trunk; in practice, however, this less-than-optimally shaped cargo hold can't swallow much more than a duffel bag and some odds and ends.

Driving Impressions

The 2009 Audi R8 won't let you forget that it's an exotic sports car -- you'll feel every bump, and road noise is pronounced relative to most other Audis. But the ride quality is certainly livable, and there's surprisingly good visibility in all directions. On back roads, the R8's prodigious power, razor-sharp reflexes and heroic grip make this AWD exotic feel almost as tossable as a lightweight roadster, albeit one with handling limits beyond the reach of all but the most skilled (or foolhardy) drivers.

We can't recommend the outdated single-clutch R tronic gearbox, though, because its automatic throttle blips on downshifts can't compensate for its cranky upshifts, which manage to be at once sluggish and neck-snapping. The conventional manual transmission, on the other hand, is a joy to operate, featuring an excellent mechanical feel augmented by an audible clink-clink as you row through the exposed metal gates.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

A jewel of a car

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Audi R8 quattro 2dr Coupe AWD (4.2L 8cyl 6AM)

Silver/Carbon Blade/Black interior, every option offered. The R8 is designed, engineered, and built beautifully. The engine is very smooth and revs like a 4-cylinder with the power of a V-8. Handling is great with mid-engine & low polar moment. The car is so confidence-inspiring that you want to go 10/10th's through every curve and turn. V-10 power might be welcomed but the car is very well- balanced and quick with the V-8. You do need to keep the revs up past 4000 to extract max power & fun. The seats are the best I've felt in an exotic, as comfortable as my A8L. Lots of comfort for two but not much space for things. Footwell space is also minimal, especially on the passenger side.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

What a great car!

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Audi R8 quattro 2dr Coupe AWD (4.2L 8cyl 6AM)

The Audi R8 is the best car I have ever owned. Its styling turns heads at every intersection. Its performance puts it in the Supercar category. Audi treats its R8 customers like royalty. It is a car that has luxurious interior. The fit and finish is impeccable. It is a wonderful daily driver and it can go from the street to the track with no changes needed. The R-Tronic transmission in auto mode is terrible. The R-Tronic transmission in manual mode using the paddle shifters is the best transmission I have ever driven. As a daily driver it gets ~19 mpg. On the track...it does not matter. Nothing passed it on my one track day. This is a car to own.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

My r8

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Audi R8 quattro 2dr Coupe AWD (4.2L 8cyl 6M)

2009 Audi R8 silver/black interiors with carbon sideblades. After a year of wait I received my fully loaded R8 almost for Christmas. I chose manual transmission as it is a real sports car. The car works flawlessly, it is beautiful and attracts a lot of attention, the driving experience is unparalleled. I use it as my daily driver, I plan to put 10,000 miles per year to it; you get used to the task of driving it in the city traffic and the constant looks and comments from almost everyone. The engine roars with menace after 4,000 rpm, the sound is breathtaking. Today, I would not choose any other car over this one, maybe in 3 years when the roadster is available.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

The best of the best

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Audi R8 quattro 2dr Coupe AWD (4.2L 8cyl 6AM)

Audi has really outdone themselves.! My wife and I are Audi lovers having first experienced the Q7. I must say it has more dependability than my BMW 645i. This car for it's first stab at luxury and performance has done admirably well. It's a joy to drive at all speeds.I drove both transmissions and chose the R-Tronic. It is touchy at slow speeds but you have a shifter plus paddles plus a sport position. All make it versatile and worth a one year wait. I find it's virtually impossible to pull into a gas station for a quick fillup without engaging in a long discussion of it's merits. Gotta love it !!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Just a terrific car!

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Audi R8 quattro 2dr Coupe AWD (4.2L 8cyl 6AM)

After all the waiting I finally have my 09 R8. It exceeds all my expectations. It sounds right, handles fabulous and turns heads everywhere it goes. My only initial misgiving was the R-Tronic which had be given mixed reviews. Having driven boththe 6 speed and now my R-Tronic I can say that it comes down to personal preference. I actually enjoy processing the R-Tronic and find it very capable of satisfying me. No regrets here from this owner. Love the roomy interior, fantastic seats, and look and finish of the carbon fibre trim inside and out ( Blades too! ) Have friends with Italian exotics and would not trade this for any of them. This car is really special and my favorite of all!

Talk About The 2009 R8

2009 Audi R8 Discussions See all Started By

Audi knows how to make a beautiful, aggressive sportscar. The R8 proves that....

know Ed doesn't like the handles on the Audi R8."...

Love my two Audi's and plan to buy more in the future...prob a R8 V10 and an A8 W12.......

Read more about the 2009 Audi R8

Gas Mileage


  • 12
  • cty
  • 19
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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