2008 Audi R8: Not Girlfriend Approved
December 20, 2008
"I used to like this car." She says as I'm opening the throttle, tearing down the only deserted stretch of roadway in Southern California last night. "But after the GT-R it's just so... I don't know...pointless and soft. And can you please stop doing that with the transmission?" The car had just changed from second to third, lagging for a second and then slamming the car forward. She was not impressed. But she does have a point.
Compared to the GT-R our Audi R8 is a beauty queen. Side blade and all. Functionally, though, the Audi doesn't stand up to the GT-R, at least not as far as I'm concerned.
Ever try to get out of an R8? First step is to readjust the seating position away from the correct driving position. Don't do that and you've got to tie your shoes together, dislocate your hips and swivel the whole knotted mass over to the left up to your chest and then around over 90-degrees out the massive doors and over the sill. Now imagine doing that in a dress. See, it's not that poor Hilton girl's fault.
And then there're the seats, quality is better in the Audi by a country kilometer, but the GT-R's are more supportive and grippier when the road gets turny. They also, as a reader pointed out, at certain angles look like the scream mask.
And then there're the human interfaces. Radio control: GT-R. HVAC: GT-R. Seat adjustment: GT-R. Steering wheel Adjustment: GT-R. Aforementioned ingress / egress: GT-R.
And then there's the attention. The GT-R certainly gets its fair share of looks (some of horror), but they're from people "in the know." Everyone looks at the R8. Still. Grandmothers, children, men, women, puppies. Everyone.
Oh, and cops.
The GT-R may be acoustically muted to a Toyotaistic degree, but a low vocal profile ain't always a bad thing, ya know? People who gawk at the GT-R know what it is. Everyone else just passes by. I like being passed by when I'm preparing to be bad. (As an aside, I'm a big fan of de-badging cars. I've never understood why anyone would add badges. Especially ones claiming displacement, AMG/SRT/M/SVT/SS affiliation, or horsepower --remember the C5 Z06s 405hp badge?)
Anyways, back to the point. For me, the draw of the Audi R8, despite many high-speed attempts, remains elusive.
We pulled into our garage at the end of the night and, maintaining forward momentum from the slope of the entry way, I popped the lever over to neutral and treated my neighbors to the sound of world-ending fury Audi's 4.2-liter V8 produces. She smiled that placating smile all men--especially car guys-- have seen 1,000-times and finally gives in, "Okay, that's nice. But seriously, can't we just get our own GT-R? A red one? We could make it louder." And as the GT-R, a red one, costs some $59,580 less than a similarly equipped R8, it's a bargain. It also leaves enough in the (fictional) bank for a new transaxle...should the need arise.
Cheaper + faster + more functional + girlfriend approved = better.
Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 25,200 miles