2008 Audi R8: Awesome Drive
February 05, 2009
I took our Audi R8 out to my mountain-road drive route, one that I've been using for a couple years now and most recently drove in our long-term GT-R. Quite simply, the R8 rocked -- it was the most memorable drive I've had in a long time.
Considering that the R8 is the most expensive car in our fleet (about 3.5 times as much as our 135i), maybe this shouldn't be a surprise. But the difference between the GT-R -- a car that betters the R8 in many hard-number performance tests -- and the R8 was simply stunning.
Thanks to its direct and communicative steering, I instantly felt comfortable with the R8. There's a unexpected level of driver-car connection present, and the R8's ability to change direction while remaining stable and compliant with the road was remarkable. Based on its responses and petite dimensions, you'd never guess that it weighs around 3,600 pounds.
The throaty V8 is plenty strong and sounds great. Too bad the R tronic transmission is still bollocks. But on this drive, at least, my aggressive throttle inputs along with use of the sport mode and lifting off the throttle for upshifts reduced the jerkiness a lot. Plus, it still did trick rev-matched downshifts, and you can left-foot brake, too.
Like the GT-R, the R8's capabilities are too high to fully explore on a public road. But with the added confidence I had in the R8, I was having more fun -- and likely going faster -- even though their capabilities are so similar. (It would have been interesting to have the retired long-term Brauermobile Ford GT along, as Karl recently compared it to the GT-R . As a substitute, though, check out Jacquot's Ultimate Performance Car Test we published last May, which puts together the R8, GT-R and a 911.)
At $132,745, our R8 is no bargain. But ever since this drive, the thought of getting a used R8 V10 many years down the road seems like a grand idea.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor