Edmunds tests hundreds of vehicles a year. Cars, trucks, SUVs, we run them all, and the numbers always tell a story. With that in mind we present "Track Tested," a quick rundown of all the data we collect at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.
The Audi R8 is one of the most spectacular cars on the road today. Unfortunately, until recently it has had a near-fatal flaw: The single-clutch automated manual was lousy. Sure, Audi offers a superb gated manual, but this is 2013 and supercar buyers simply can't be bothered to shift their own gears.
But that's all changed this year. For 2014, Audi's replaced the single-clutch gearbox with a slick new seven-speed dual-clutch S tronic automatic that promises smoother shifts and better performance. Where better, then, to test that performance than in the 2014 Audi R8 V10 Plus.
This top-tier R8 costs nearly $65,000 more than the base, manual-transmission-equipped V8 R8, but has the sauce to make it worthwhile. Carbon-ceramic brakes are standard. The 5.2-liter V10 makes 550 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque, while weight-savings measures take 100 pounds out of the normal R8 V10. Audi claims 0-60 acceleration takes only 3.3 seconds.
Does it? Does the new transmission prove itself when pushed? Is the 2014 Audi R8 V10 Plus worth the extra money? We took it to the track to find out.
Vehicle: 2014 Audi R8 V10 Plus
Price (as tested): $188,995
Drive Type: Midengine, all-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Seven-speed automated manual
Engine Type: Naturally aspirated V10 with direct injection
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 5,204/317
Redline (rpm): 8,700
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 550 @ 8,000
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 398 @ 6,500
Brake Type (front): 14.9-inch ventilated discs with six-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): 14-inch ventilated discs with four-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type (front): Independent double wishbone, coil springs, driver-adjustable magnetorheological dampers
Suspension Type (rear): Independent double wishbone, coil springs, driver-adjustable magnetorheological dampers
Tire Size (front): 235/35R19 (91Y)
Tire Size (rear): 295/30R19 (100Y)
Tire Brand: Pirelli
Tire Model: P Zero
Tire Type: Asymmetrical summer performance
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,676
0-30 (sec): 1.6 (1.8 w/ TC on)
0-45 (sec): 2.4 (2.6 w/ TC on)
0-60 (sec): 3.4 (3.7 w/ TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 3.2 (3.4 w/ TC on)
0-75 (sec): 4.7 (5.1 w/ TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 11.3 @ 123.8 (11.6 @ 122.3 w/ TC on)
30-0 (ft): 28
60-0 (ft): 106
Slalom (mph): 70.8 dynamic mode (67.5 w/ TC on)
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.96 dynamic ( 0.95 w/ TC on)
Db @ Idle: 46.5
Db @ Full Throttle: 84.1
Db @ 70-mph Cruise: 66.1
RPM @ 70 mph: 2,400
Acceleration: Even in default non-sport mode, this R8 launches exceptionally well: very little hesitation and no stumble while the clutch engages. Upshifts are quick and smooth. Utilizing launch mode (ESC Sport + sport driveline + pedal overlap + autoshift) hastens everything: the jump off the line, the shifts, and all without a hint of wheelspin. I had forgotten how high this engine revs, not to mention how it feels and sounds like it loves to rev all the way past 9,000, deep into the indicated redline.
Braking: Firm pedal from first (shortest) to last stop, with a slight wiggle/lightness at the rear. True, 106 feet is short, but I thought this car would stop shorter than it did. Carbon-ceramic brakes did what they do best: staying powerful and consistent despite repeated use.
Slalom: Just as I remember it: an extension of my will. However, the steering feels heavier this time around. Is it? I wish it were just as precise and responsive, but as friction-free as the McLaren's. The R8 is still very "pointy" with highly reactive steering/throttle, but in ESC Sport mode, one can tell it wants to be driven (at least on a closed track) with stability control disabled. It wants to be "free" and rotate and slide, but the system says otherwise. Supremely easy to control and predict on the limit, where mild understeer is expertly blended into controllable oversteer with the throttle. Were the system completely off, it would make a better number here. Steering remains informative and precise throughout this exercise.
Skid pad: The hefty steering weight is less objectionable here (also due to lower speed than slalom), and it still transmits all the surface detail anybody could use. Very little difference between ESC Sport and ESC On, perhaps a little bit of throttle auto-closure (?). Either way, it allows a mild slip angle in the rear all the way around the circle.