2008 Audi R8 Long Term Road Test - Miscellaneous

2008 Audi R8 Long Term Road Test

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Editors' Favorites Number One: 2008 Audi R8

March 12, 2010


If there's been an all-star car in our long-term fleet, this has been it. Maybe it's not a surprise to see us picking the $132,975 R8 exotic as our favorite. But it earned the most votes by a big margin. Not everybody voted for it; the car's clunky R tronic automated manual transmission and its non-defeatable moronic motorist magnet feature were turn-offs. But the majority was smitten with its throaty mid-mounted V8, communicative steering and livable ride quality. Basically, it was just super-cool to drive.

So, to recap: #5 2002 BMW M3. #4 Ford Flex. #3 Nissan GT-R. #2 2009 BMW M3 sedan. #1 2008 Audi R8. Meanwhile, we checked our initial post with the photo collage; plenty of you got four cars, but none named all five. Shout-out to bodyshopboy, stephen987, wrinklebump, bradyholt, waevox, auto4fun, nealibob, fuhteng, hunter312, captainvw, hijack and jaydubz for getting four.

2008 Audi R8 Introduction and Wrap-up.

On Monday we'll have our most un-loved long-term car and the top-five runners-up.

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2008 Audi R8: Our Favorite Caption

April 24, 2009


Thanks to teapot for this week's favorite caption.

You're always inspired by pictures of the Audi R8. There were a lot of great entries this week. Here are some other goodies:

Gee I can see Russia from my car (toye)
Great, thanks guys. Don't you know that cameras add 10 pounds? (threem)
You will be assimilated, resistance is futile. (mike63amg)
That's the last time I leave my car with Q for the weekend. (wshuff)
Audi Park Assist beta (texases)
This is NOT what i had in mind when you told me the cameras would be on me all day! (e10rice)
In Soviet Russia, car takes picture of YOU (zoomzoom97)
I said I wanted CANNONS, not CANONS! (gooney911)
You lookn' at me?!? (cts24)
So fast the rearview cameras have to face forward. (mnorm1)

What was your favorite?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2008 Audi R8: You Write the Caption

April 24, 2009


It may have left our garage but it will never escape our hearts. A bit melodramatic, I admit. Good thing this is online so you don't see the tear-stained pages of my notebook.

As we say a final goodbye to our beloved Audi R8, I thought I'd take the opportunity to use it in one more caption contest.

I suggest "Quit looking at me."

What is your caption? We'll post our favorite at 4PM.

You can also read the wrap-up of the Audi R8 here.

Here's looking at you, kid. (Sigh)

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2008 Audi R8: Our Favorite Caption

March 06, 2009


I had a really hard time choosing this week. But in the end, Deputy Caroline help me pick this one.

Thanks to vacagrande for this week's favorite.

Here are the others that almost made it:

I bet the GT-R never had to do this! (e10rice)
Behold: Edmunds new 10-year wear-and-tear simulator. (drinkduff77)
Midget pit crew gets into their work. (mnorm1)
See, honey, it is a family car--I can get all of the kids in. (vwthing1)
Audi called; they want their R8 back (redliner)
R8 is Enough (ergsum)
Feed me, Seymour! (Franchitti27)

What was your favorite?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2008 Audi R8: You Write the Caption

March 06, 2009


Our photogenic Audi R8 lends itself to many caption contest situations.

This pic was taken at career day at a local school. Brian Moody made a presentation about being an automotive journalist.

He also came up with this caption: "Meet the Inside Line staff."
Bryn offered up: "What the frunk? Where did all of these kids come from?"
I give you: "Kid tested, Editor approved"

I know you can do better.

Disclaimer: No children were harmed in the making of this caption contest, although they were forced to wear funny costumes.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2008 Audi R8: Visibility

February 17, 2009

I can see clearly now the rain is gone. The Audi R8 has incredible visibility for such a low riding car with a huge engine in the back window.

This 40-second video shows you out the front and side windows and into the mirrors.

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2008 Audi R8: Our Favorite Caption

February 13, 2009


Thanks to wshuff for giving us our favorite caption.

So many great entries this week. We even got some poetry.

These Insiders also get gold stars:

And on the eighth day, God created the supercar. (Murtman)
Audi R8. Now available with exclusive 'Nikola Tesla anti-theft system (johnnyr3)
Bolts off the line. (ddoouugg)
The Audi R8. The official vehicle of Benjamin Franklin (redliner)
Plug in? Plug in? We don't need no stinkin plug in (mnorm1)
I sing the Audi Electric (funkymunky)
Audi R8, because they haven't build a DeLorean since 82' (tcd223)

What was your favorite?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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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.

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2008 Audi R8: You Write the Caption

February 13, 2009


Happy Friday the 13th.

Scott didn't believe me when I told him there was a version of the movie where Jason ends up in outer space. But I swear there was and it was called Jason X. Pure genius.

Anyway, I thought this photo of the R8 was sufficiently ominous to celebrate this day.

While we skip out to see the remake, give us your witty caption.

Check back at 4:00 PM for our favorite.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2008 Audi R8: Hi, Yes, This Is My R8

February 03, 2009


Yesterday, a middle-age guy in a current-generation 7 Series was checking out the R8 while I was driving on the freeway. Today, it was a Gen-Y dude in an Eclipse GT on city streets. Both had their driver-side windows down while giving our long-term Audi R8 -- and me -- a long look. In both encounters, I spurred the R8 a little to, you know, show them that there's more to the mid-mounted V8 than pretty artwork. And both drivers were all grins and thumbs up when they caught up to the R8.

No doubt Mr. 7 and Mr. Eclipse assumed the R8 was my car. But I'm wondering how other R8 owners react to the constant attention. Does prolonged ownership generate a nonchalant attitude towards the car's celebrity status? Maybe they just drive "cool" because they are cool -- I'm pretty sure R8 owners at least have nicer teeth and better cable TV packages than I do.

With most of our test cars, it's pretty easy to emulate the driving style of the stereotypical owner. The Audi R8 owner is harder to pin down. So I guess I'll continue to feed our long-termer its oats until somebody tells me otherwise.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 27,659 miles

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2008 Audi R8: In a Perfect World

January 12, 2009


In a perfect world this is what would be parked outside my house: 2007 Honda Fit for errands, 2008 Audi R8 for just about everything else.

And here's a picture of the Audi supercar crouched at the curb a few blocks from the offices at Edmunds.com in Santa Monica, California this morning. I'm sorry it's a little jittery but I was trying very hard not to get run over as I stood in the middle of the street.

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2008 Audi R8: Sleeping (Not So Much) Beauty

January 08, 2009


I took the R8 out again for more "cover" shots. Again, I spent the night at my girlfriend's house not only because she has a garage, but also I hadn't seen her the previous night. Two birds with one stone, right?

I woke up a little after 5am to get some sunrise shots. I was careful not to wake her. I picked up all my gear carefully and went out to the car as quietly as possible.

My ninja skills were thwarted by the turn of the key.

"BBBBBBBBBRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWW!" Snarled the engine as it came to life.

Lights went on at the neighbors. A dog barked at me. Got a text from my lady: "loud".

I felt bad. For about a second that is. Once I got it out of her garage, it was like playing a really good round of Night Driver.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

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2008 Audi R8: They've Raised Their Shields, Captain

January 06, 2009

Thumbnail image for r8sunset.jpg

First off, I can't take credit for this nice shot. My esteemed colleague Kurt Niebuhr shot while taking details of this car for a photo contest entry.

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2008 Audi R8: As a supercar, it barely scrapes by

January 05, 2009

Audi R8 Scrape.jpg

I've driven everything from an Acura NSX to a Ford GT to a Porsche 911 up my in-laws' driveway with nary a scuff mark. But that damn proboscis on the Audi R8 just can't handle the approach angle. I even approached the approach angle at an angle, knowing how far the car's maw sticks out ahead of the front tires. Didn't matter, the snout still dragged on the pavement.

At least it looks good...once you get it on flat and level pavement.

Karl Brauer, Edmunds.com Editor in Chief @ 26,040 miles

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2008 Audi R8: Brake Dust Not Helping Its Image

December 23, 2008


Combine an odd stretch of actual weather in Southern California with some spirited driving and you get this - a filthy car with equally disgusting wheels.

Brake dust hasn't been too much of a problem with the R8, but when it builds up the results are pretty sad looking. If anything, it reaffirms the fact that we actually drive this thing like a real car. A garage queen it is not.

That said, after seeing the R8 in this condition I had to get it cleaned up, even with the threat of more rain on the way.

Ahh...that's better.

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2008 Audi R8: Cracking 25,000 Miles

December 16, 2008


Last night, on my way home, our long-term 2008 Audi R8 cracked the 25,000 mile mark. I'll bet my old school subscription to Popular Mechanics (it was a gift) that makes our car the highest mileage R8 in the world. Am I wrong? Does anyone know of an R8 out there that has covered more ground?

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief @ 25,000 miles

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2008 Audi R8: Finding Balance

December 01, 2008

Audi R8 on lift.jpg

Our long-term Audi R8 is one of the more rewarding vehicles in the long-fleet, but only if you can take full advantage of its combination of luxury and performance. I enjoyed driving the R8 for the past two weeks, but within 24 hours it was clear something was amiss regarding its normally refined ride quality.

At higher speeds a subtle, but consistent, vibration intruded upon the Audi's upscale interior. I figured (and hoped) it was simply a wheel balance isssue. A trip to Stokes Tire in Santa Monica confirmed my suspicions...and more.

Turns out three of the four tires where vastly out of balance (the driver's side rear was fine). In fact, the front passenger tire had no weights on it at all, prompting the Stokes technician to question whether the tire had ever been balanced before being mounted on the R8 at the factory. Certainly that would explain the high-speed vibration.

Problem solved, right? Not quite. While fixing the balance fixed the bad vibes there was another gremlin lurking under the Audi R8.

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2008 Audi R8: Scene Stealer

November 17, 2008


Even though Inside Line's Saturday street party was all about the Nissan 370Z, every time I glanced back at the Audi R8 in the parking lot, there were people milling around and snapping photos.

Stop flirting, R8. Don't you get enough attention?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2008 Audi R8: Please Don't Steal Me

November 03, 2008

Relax, I didn't really leave this on there

When I got the R8 Friday evening, I started to notice the key fob wasn't working properly. It took a few tries to get it to lock and then unlock. Eventually it would do it, though. I went through the same multiple-fob-push song and dance every time. Sometimes I would try to manually lock the car using the key, but that didn't work either.

I was visiting a friend down in Orange County Saturday night and before we left for dinner (in his car), he wanted to sit in the R8. After a few tries, it unlocked and he got his wish. When I went to lock the car, it refused to lock with the fob. It would not lock using the key hole, nor from the inside using the auto door lock button. After a good five minutes, it was hopeless -- the R8 was just not going to lock. I was also now concerned that if I did manage to lock it, I wouldn't be able to unlock it again. This was clearly an issue with the locks and not the key fob (which still blinked its red light with every push).

Seeing as I was in a rather high-end neighborhood (the country's largest gated community, which was featured in the Real House Wives of Orange County), I figured it unlikely that leaving the R8 unlocked would result in its disappearance. Plus, there's no lock switches or plungers in the car to give away from the outside that it's unlocked. And really, who randomly walks up to cars to see if they're unlocked?

The car was still there when I got back from dinner, and when I got back home Saturday, it still wouldn't lock. I had my girlfriend block the R8 with her car in our tandem parking spot. It's still wasn't working Sunday morning. Guess what Magrath's going to be busy with this week?

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 23,634 miles

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2008 Audi R8: Camera Car

October 30, 2008


Our long-term R8 isn't all only about having fun. Sometimes we put it to work.

We used it to shoot photos and video during our recent ZR1 versus GT-R comparison test.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 23,300 miles

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2008 Audi R8: The Great Tailpipe Conspiracy

October 28, 2008


There been considerable hand wringing lately over the faux exhaust tips on the new Ferrari California. Such trickery seemed suspicious enough when it showed up on the Lexus IS-F, but on a Ferrari it's been deemed sacrilege.

Well, got some more bad news for you, the R8 is guilty too. It's less noticeable because the exhaust pipes are tucked away so neatly into the bodywork, but the photo doesn't lie, those tips are not connected.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor @ 22,581 miles

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2008 Audi R8: Real Superheroes Love This Supercar, Too

October 20, 2008


This morning we had parked our 2008 Audi R8 across the street from a Santa Monica fire department when we were stopping off at a coffeehouse before work for some java. Upon returning to the car we saw these guys admiring the car, excitedly checking out its wheels, luxe interior, V8 engine gorgeously displayed in the back. We just had to get a picture.

Of course they were reluctant at first ("I know where these things usually end up," said one) until we explained to them that we thought it was cool that, in addition to Iron Man, real superheroes loved this car, too. THAT got them in front of the camera. Heh.

They asked how much horsepower our R8 had. When we replied, "420," they smiled and said, gesturing to their firetruck, "Ours has a Caterpillar V8 turbodiesel with 500 hp." We wanted to add, "AND it actually saves lives."

When we were getting ready to drive away, the firemen said, looking at the cop car parked nearby, "Unlike the police, WE'd like to see you go fast..." Instead we just did a U-turn in front of them and revved the engine. If we had time we probably would have offered to give them a really quick jaunt on the freeway. Ah well.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 22,543 miles

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2008 Audi R8: Man vs. Nature

October 10, 2008


Not long ago I was taking a walk on the beach. There was a lone surfer waiting to catch a wave. Suddenly, a flock of dolphins -- actually, I think the correct term is a pod of dolphins -- started to play with him. These delightful creatures were swimming all around him and jumping out of the water. It was an amazing sight and the surfer was enjoying the interplay.

But, after a while, the dolphins started getting unintentionally rough. They didn't mean it. They're dolphins. They just wanted to have fun. Although they are wildly intelligent, they don't understand that humans are breakable.

Finally, the kid started to get freaked out and made his way to shore. He had an incredible experience but knew if he stayed out there any longer, he was going to get the wind knocked out of him.

That's how I feel sometimes when I drive the R8. It's a beautiful machine in a very accessible way. It is not at all aloof. People give you the thumbs-up just for beautifying their street. They want to play and drive next to you. They want to jump in front of you and take your picture with their camera phones. But after a while they start to sway too close and you really want them to pay attention to the road.

The photo above is one of several car murals decorating our office. She sure is a beauty.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2008 Audi R8: The Details Count

October 09, 2008


Maybe I'm stretching on this one, but as I was gassing up the R8 the other day I noticed another small example of how well thought out the R8 is from top to bottom. When you unscrew the gas cap there's a tether to hold it on. Nothing special there. But instead of just letting the cap dangle against the bodywork, they made it just long enough so you can hook it over the lid. Trivial maybe, but certainly no accident.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor @ 21,834 miles

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2008 Audi R8: Errand-Running Supercar

September 29, 2008


Don't ask me how it happened but I scored our 2008 Audi R8 for the weekend. Yup! Little ol' me, the editor who usually gets assigned the Smart. And I used this supercar -- Iron Man's car, the star of I, Robot -- to finish up the last of my move, to run donated items over to Goodwill and to attend the American Wine & Food Festival (AWFF) which, funny enough, was sponsored by Audi. I was in heaven.

Sure, it's not really practical for running errands, and this car does not enjoy going slow but at all, but it somehow turned even the most mundane moments into a cinematic experience.

When I had parked it in front of my new house, a group of good-looking shirtless college-age men, from the nearby college's track team I assume, were running down the street and descended upon the R8 whooping and hollering. "Is this YOUR car?" they asked me as I stepped out of my house to investigate what all the ruckus was about. "Why yes. Yes, it is," I replied, fanning myself.

And I even found myself driving 10 miles away to another Ralphs since the one near my house didn't carry the cake mix I was looking for. Any excuse to jump behind the wheel.

Unfortunately, this car has no place in my life. I'm not fancy enough, rich enough or even skilled enough as a driver to own it. Like I said, it doesn't like to be driven slow as it jerked and puttered when I was driving around the garage at the AWFF looking for parking. And even if you sit at a traffic light too long, it automatically switches its gear to Neutral as if impatient for sitting still too long. "Yes, I understand, dear supercar. You want to go, and go fast."

In any case, borrowing this car, even for just staying in town really made my weekend. It's definitely great motivation for doing errands.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 20,720 miles

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2008 Audi R8: 19,999 Miles of Super Car Bliss

September 23, 2008


On the way to Seal Beach Elementary's "Back to School" night, I glanced down and saw our long-term Audi R8's odometer on the cusp of a mileage milestone.

Maybe you're tired of hearing about our love affair with the R8, our enthusiam over Audi's willingness to extend what was originally scheduled to be a three-month loan.

And perhaps I'll get tired of talking about it, but I'll never get tired of driving it.

Here's to another beautiful 20,000 miles, luvver.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 19,999 miles

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2008 Audi R8: Not Quite What People Think

September 22, 2008


The following is a collection of quotes from random Santa Monica residents upon seeing our R8 parked on a local residential street:

"Dude, it's an R8, that thing is $250,000" (actual price -- $132,000)

"Its layout was designed by a woman that's why it looks so good" (actual design director - Walter de'Silva)

"Look at the engine. I think it has like 600 horsepower." (actual horsepower - 420)

"Check out the headlights, I think they're LEDs." (actually, full LED headlights are only available on the R8 in Europe. The Cadillac Escalade Platinum is currently the only vehicle in the U.S. that offers full high- and lowbeam LED headlights)

Strangely enough, a Cadillac Executive told me last month that Ferdinand Piech, Chairman of the Volkswagen Group, special ordered an Escalade EXT outfitted with the LED headlights. First person to capture a picture of Piech behind the wheel gets a $100.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor @ 19,810 miles

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2008 Audi R8: More More More

September 09, 2008


We begged. We pleaded. And we got our way.

Audi extended our loan of the R8 for another three months.

You'll remember our goal for the R8 was to get the odometer up to 20,000 miles, just like any car in our long-term fleet. But we had to do it in three measly months instead of our normal twelve. Well, we've almost met our goal. Today is the three-month mark and as of this morning our Audi R8 has reached 19,334 miles.

But now we have it for three more months. So let's give a half-time report.

We've gotten used to the celebrity status that comes along with this beauty of a car. People smile and point when they see the R8 as if they just spotted Lindsey Lohan and Britney Spears making out. We've learned to ignore their stares. They're soooo boring.

But all kidding aside, the bloom is slightly off the rose. The R8 is still a blast to drive. But our non-stop road trips have started to wear on our supercar. The front trunk, or frunk as we like to call it, doesn't close properly and takes some finagling. We'll have it looked at by the dealer. At our last service appointment we had the loose parking brake lever cover reinstalled.

This morning I noticed the Tuscan brown color is wearing off of the leather upholstery on the left driver seat bolster. Everyone slides against it getting down into the car and it's starting to show. We'll have that looked at as well. Minor things.

So, what should we do with the Audi R8 for the next three months?

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2008 Audi R8: Family Hauler

September 08, 2008

kid with R8-555.jpg

Abomination against a supercar or coolest daycare pickup ever?

I guess this was inevitable, given that I drive our long-term cars and pick up my 2-year-old daughter from day care most days. As I cinched the Recaro Como child safety seat into the orangey-red buckets and triple-checked that the airbag was disabled before leaving the office for day care, I couldn't help but giggle out loud and wonder how often similar vehicles are put to this task. It felt half ridiculous and half cool.

After I strapped my daughter in and explained in toddler-friendly terms as much as I could about the car we were driving (which surprisingly was a lot), the trek home felt 100 percent ridiculous and 100 percent cool, as I slogged through stop-and-go surface street traffic while she squealed "Faster, mommy! Faster!" every couple of blocks. I couldn't grant her wish (and wouldn't have even if traffic had been light) for many, many reasons, but I loved her enthusiasm.

What with her already documented love for her Recaro and the zeal with which she is a passenger in high-horsepower cars, I appear to be raising a car girl.

Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 19112 miles

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2008 Audi R8: My Hatred of Valet Continues

September 02, 2008

R8 At Spanish Kitchen Valet -- Their Guys are Good

I despise valet parking. Unless the lot is only 1,000 square feet or the nearest public parking lot is a mile away, I avoid valet like the plague. I don't need some dude in a maroon vest joy riding in my car -- even if it's not really my car. I don't need to show off at the valet stand. When I'm driving something like the R8, it's even worse. But twice I've been driving the R8 and had to valet. The first time (photo above) was because the lot was about 1000 square feet, but it's right next to the restaurant so I don't mind. And the second time occured this weekend when the nearest public parking was a mile away. I reluctantly handed over the keys to maroon vest dude who was working solo. It's a tough feeling handing $130,000 over to somebody.

Anyway, when I got out of dinner, I handed the guy a $20 for the $7 parking charge. To make it easy, I even just asked for a 10 back. He informed me he had no change, only a 1 and a 20. I would have to check in the restaurant for change. They had none. I came back to the guy empty handed and the little snot was giving me attitude as if it was my fault he didn't have the change to do his job. "You have to pay for your service, sir." "Service? What, driving my car 30 feet to the other side of this building? Do you expect me to just pay you $13 extra for that? I may be allegedly rich, but I didn't get allegedly rich by being stupid." But I didn't say that. Instead, I ran over to a gas station for change and paid the little bastard -- no tip. I should've just driven off.

It sullied my evening and I couldn't help but feeling that he was treating me like this because I was a 20-something driving a flashy 130-thousand-something car. The sort of unwelcome attention I was lamenting over in Riswickland. Perhaps it would've been the same had I been driving the Focus, I don't know. Either way, my distaste for valet parking continues. Next time, I'll say, "Get in the car buddy. I'm parking her myself."

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 19,066 miles

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2008 Audi R8: A Cheap Entrance

August 28, 2008


Among the few imperfections on our Audi R8 long-termer, you know other than the garbage gearbox, is the cheap door handle. Yeah, a petty shot, but for a six-figure car it feels ridiculously cheap. I mean like using coupons at Wal-Mart cheap. I even made a video so you can hear the hollow pop it makes every time you let go. Thankfully I only have to use it once per drive.

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2008 Audi R8: What Would You Pick?

August 26, 2008


My high school reunion is coming up. It's a multiple of ten, but I won't say which one.

I have to drive something. Why not take advantage of the Audi R8? Or is turning up in Ironman's car the most utterly tool-ish move I could make? "Nice car, Dan. How long have you had it?" "Well, it's like this..."

The Nissan GT-R perhaps? Only the truly car saavy (and heavy-duty gamers) will know what it is. To everyone else it might simply register as yet another 350Z with an overwrought body kit. This one is a good car-guy filter. Fellow motorheads are always easy to talk to at awkward parties.

How about the Smart? Nah. Everyone thought I was a dork in high school (I drove a Ranchero with side pipes back then.) I'm not sure I want to remove all doubt with this one. But this is Southern California, after all, and I'd like to think we've all grown up a bit. Yeah, right.

The Pontiac G8 GT? Why not the Evo or STI? The Cadillac CTS is another good one.

I must point out that I am happily married and am not trolling in any way. Besides, no one but the valet (if there is one) is likely to see my borrowed ride.

Oh, sure. I could drive my own car--if it'll start. But who wants to turn up in a beater Miata with faded red paint and no A/C? Or in a minivan full of crumbs, for that matter? My wife sure doesn't, and she didn't even go to my high school!

What would you pick?

At this point I'm leaning toward the GT-R, myself.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 18,150 miles

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2008 Audi R8: Feels Like A Lightw8. But That Front Overhang? I H8.

August 22, 2008

R8 blog.jpg

One thing I dig about our medium-term 2008 Audi R8 is how light it feels from the driver seat. The Nissan GT-R feels lighter than 3,900 lbs, but it's still obviously a substantial car. The Corvette Z06 somehow doesn't feel notably lighter than the GT-R, despite being the lightest of the bunch by a longshot (3,162 lbs). But the 3,634-lb R8 -- trust us, we weighed it -- has a light-on-its-feet character in corners that the other two supercars just can't match. It feels compact, tossable and playful; the others feel a bit piggish by comparison.

Over at the Austrian's recent R8 post, however, three astute commenters gave voice to something I've thought from the first moment I laid eyes on the R8 in our garage: that front overhang is out of control! Go to Austria's post and check out the first picture -- looks like the car is about to tip forward and fall on its face, particularly given the clipped rear end. I know there's a (largely useless) frunk up there, but, dude. Those front wheels need to be moved about a foot closer to the front of the car.

Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com @ 18,022 miles

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2008 Audi R8: The Anti-Ferrari

August 18, 2008


Slummed it in the Audi R8 again this weekend. Had to drive to Monterey to see what all the rich people were doing in Pebble Beach. Apparently all that news of a recession hasn't hit the upper classes as there were more new Ferrari's, Lamborghinis and Rolls Royces than I could count.

That said, I didn't see another R8 once. Maybe I wasn't looking hard enough, maybe there was a Deutsches Autoerscheinen that I missed, who knows, but the R8's rarity cemented its status as the ultimate anti-Ferrari. People waved, smiled and otherwise seemed to enjoy seeing something other than a bright red F430 with shiny tires. The fact that I left our long-termer covered in bugs and brake dust only added to the effect.

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2008 Audi R8: ovR8ed experience

August 14, 2008


"Why are those people staring at us?" my girlfriend asks. We're just trying to get some fruit, albeit from the popular Farmer's Market at the Grove in Los Angeles, but the facts don't change: The two of us are just doing some grocery shopping and people won't leave us alone.

"Ignore them" I tell her, "the poor don't deserve our attention." By the time my head stopped ringing from the smack to the head, we had miraculously found a parking space, exited the car and were sipping tripple iced espressos.

When returning to the car, bags in hand, we were startled by a group of teens surrounding the R8. "Great car!" "I saw this at the auto show!" "Is it fast?" My replies were pleasant and I didn't bludgeon or threaten any of them with the cane I had been carrying due to a knee injury. (I did make various threats to children playing, upset that they were on the lawn.)

I just wanted to put my groceries into the absurdly small frunk (front trunk), go home and go to bed. This wasn't Cars and Coffee, this wasn't Hot Import Nights; it was simply a hot Wednesday night where I happened to have a car and some coffee.

And this brings me to my thesis statement: Supercars are dumb.

Before you get your Countach poster all in a bunch, follow the jump.

I guess it's the New Englander in me speaking, but I prefer things to be functional and understated. The other day I saw a hammer made of titanium with some carbon fiber stickers on it. Earlier that very same day (which explains why I was in the hammer aisle) I built an Ikea night table with, literally, a penny, the allen wrench that came with the thing, and a can of tuna for a hammer and, when placed on its side, a level. Not only did it handle the task of securing finishing nails into a piece of fiberboard, it was also delicious! And currently the empty can is being used to hold spare change. Can the fancy-pants hammer do that? No, it's nothing more than a shiny expensive unitasker.

Such is life with the Audi R8 and in my experience, virtually every supercar. Sure they do what they do very well, but the cost of ownership is absurd. No, not the financial cost, but the emotional cost. Gone is your privacy and, to an extent, your dignity. Driving the R8 is phenomenal. Driving the R8 also makes you "that guy." The guy who has a supercar is not to be envied. The guy driving the supercar down Sunset is the guy with an ego problem, not a passion for cars.

Growing up I lived next door to a rock star. He ditched "the life" and moved to a quiet town to start a small farm. I never understood the decision. He had fame, fortune and to steal a quote from Futurama, "access to the depths of sleaze that those things bring." It wasn't until driving the R8 that his life path made some sense; He didn't need the attention.

Kudos on the R8, Audi, but my sense of self worth is just fine, I'll have an Rs4.

I'm just not desperate enough to own a supercar.

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant.

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2008 Audi R8: I Drove the R8 And I Liked It

August 12, 2008

2008 Audi R8

As part of my job writing model reviews for Edmunds, I take the opportunity to drive as many short-term cars that pass through here as possible. The more I drive the better, with more volume-selling cars being a wiser use of my time than limited production GT500KR-like things. But as I was about to grab the keys to the 2009 Mazda 6, I saw the Audi R8's switchblade hanging on the board beckoning me. I gave into temptation.

And with apologies to Katy Perry...

(It helps to play this while reading. If that link doesn't work, try the YouTube Video)

This was not the drive I planned
Not my intention
I got so brave, keys in hand
Lost my discretion
It's not what, I'm used to
Just wanna try it out
I'm curious for it
Caught my attention

I drove the R8 and I liked it
Despite it's crappy auto stick
I drove the R8 just to try it
I hope my Z3 don't mind it
RTronic felt so wrong
The V8 felt so right
But I'm OK with not taking it home tonight
I drove the R8 and I liked it
I just liked it

I know I should drive the Mazda 6.
It doesn't matter,
You're such a sexier pick.
Just human nature,
It's not what,
Good journalists do
Not how they should behave
I should drive a real car
But so hard to obey

I drove the R8 and I liked it
Despite the photo-taking pricks
I drove the R8 just to try it
I hope Mike Schmidt don't mind it
Dead pedal's placed so wrong
Steering feels so right
But I think I'd rather have a Porsche, alright?
I drove the R8 and I liked it
I just liked it.

Supercars are so magical
High speeds, hot looks, so driveable
Hard to resist so lustable
Too good to deny it
The Audi's a big deal, but I'm indifferent.

I drove the R8 and I liked it
But the Aston's a better pick
I drove the R8 just to try it
I hope Brent Romans don't mind it
MMI works so wrong
The V8 sounds so right
But don't mean I'm in love tonight

I drove the R8 and I liked it
But I just liked it

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 16,878 miles

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2008 Audi R8: Stylin'

August 11, 2008

R8 at Walt Disney Hall

I was lucky enough to style in the R8 this past weekend, my first time to drive it. Although it was penned by Walter de'Silva, its modern sexy looks could easily have been shaped by architects Frank Gehry (Disney Hall shown) or Santiago Calatrava.

The R8 attracts so much positive attention not only because of its exotic looks, but because it -- or its driver -- doesn't have a negative image. Remember the old BMW and porcupines joke? Well the same thing could apply to Porsches, Ferraris, and Lambos too. But the Audi doesn't have such baggage. And although Lambos aren't uncommon on the fashionable West side of LA, I've only seen one other R8.

I didn't experience the psycho pursuit or cell-phone stalkarazzi that the other staff members have gone through. But my friends, co-workers, and a few strangers went absolutely bananas over it. As I was fueling, one guy asked to take some pics. "Go ahead and sit in it," I said. When he was finished, he looked like a kid who just opened his Christmas presents. And when I was rolling on Melrose, one guy saw the window was down, and shouted while smiling, "Hey, are you Ironman?" I just smiled and pointed to him. A female friend, begged for -- and got -- a ride.

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2008 Audi R8: Even the Guy in the Prius Digs It

August 11, 2008


Recently somebody told me that the Toyota Prius was being bought by poeple that don't like cars. I argued the point. "Everybody likes cars," I said. "Everybody."

And last week I was proven right. I was driving our long term 2008 Audi R8 to work, which essentially means inching along in traffic, while drinking coffee and talking on my cell phone. Normal morning. But imagine my delight when I looked over and saw this guy in the pictured slate gray Prius taking a picture of my car. He photographed it from several angles before lowering his camera and giving me the thumbs up, all while smiling like Theo Epstein the day the Dodgers took Manny.

Now, when you're in the R8 people take your picture. Happens 100 times a day. But the fact that this guy got it, despite being signed up for years of payments on that Prius should tell you something.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

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2008 Audi R8: Eye Catchin'

August 07, 2008


I got handed the keys to go on a short photo shoot location scouting mission. I drove up to Malibu on the PCH, which normally is the land of the rich and famous driving their 911 Turbos and Ferrari F430's. I figured the R8 wouldn't be that big of a deal.

I was wrong.

I stopped in the Malibu Village area to grab a coke. A swarm of people descended on the R8 as I was at the cash register. Normally I don't mind talking about the car I'm driving, but this day I just wanted to get back out on the road and figure out where I was going to shoot a three car comparison.

As I approached the car, I a family of tourists was standing in front of the car taking pictures of it, them with the car and so on. They noticed me standing there and gestured if it was ok for them to continue. I had no problem letting take a few more photos.

Once they finished they waved and nodded with a smile, the international "thank you". The oldest son approached me and said, "Your car is German. We are French."

"I'm happy for you."

I got in the car and drove away, not sure of what to make of their declaration and my reaction. Must have been lost in translation.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

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2008 Audi R8: Stare Master

August 04, 2008

Rr engine 555.jpg

This job has given me the opportunity to sample a lot of impressive automobiles: Dodge Vipers, the Lotus Elise and Exige, a Lamborghini Gallardo, a Ford GT, Vettes, AMG Benzes, the occasional Ferrari, a plethora of Porsches and the Nissan GT-R. But none of them has elicted the kind of extended gawking, spontaneous cell-phone photography and ill-advised pursuit as this 2008 Audi R8.

It started on the 91 freeway as I was driving home. The guy in the car pool lane next to me held-up his followers for a good 5 minutes while his passenger shot dubious-quality photos with his cell phone. At one point people in three different cars on all sides of me were doing much the same thing. Is this what it's like to be Brad Pitt?

Every lane-splitting motorcyclist I saw on the freeways over the whole weekend paused just off my starboard bow to look back over his shoulder and stare for a few seconds before giving a thumbs-up and darting ahead, hoping I'd drop a gear and take-off in pursuit. Sorry, pal, but I can't squeeze between cars like your Ducati can.

And then there was the kid who ran out of his garage and hurdled the bicycle in his driveway at a dead run, cell phone camera in-hand, while I cruised down the street toward his house.

Gawkers of all ages, from 10-year old skate-boarders to 70-year old dog-walkers on Balboa Island were heard to spew variations of the same expletive: "F***, that's a bitchin' car!"

My whole time in the car is probably documented on YouTube and various message boards.

I'm not sure what it is. Its appearance as the Starkmobile in Ironman? Maybe, but none of the folks who talked to me made that connection. The visible V8 under glass, the LED eyelash daytime running lights and the rollicking V8 exhaust note doubtless have something to do with it. But the R8 also grabs the eye on a gut level. It looks fast and exudes just the right amount of don't-even-try-it menace. Yeah, the Audi R8 is just plain bitchin'.

Everyone asked the price, of course. But even those who clearly couldn't afford it thought $120 or $130k was a bargain. The R8 would seem to be a bargain for Audi, too, as everyone I talked visibly recalibrated their respect for the entire Audi brand based on merely seeing this car. "That's an Audi? I had no idea."

Oh, and the R8 drives bitchin' and hauls ass, too. But here's a tip: save ten grand and get the regular 6-speed manual instead of the R-tronic single-clutch automated manual transmission. Paddles aside, I'll wait for a dual-clutch version.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 16,211 miles

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2008 Audi R8: Cats Like Mid-Mounted V8s, Too

July 31, 2008


Last night my neighbor's cat let me know that our 2008 Audi R8 is the greatest thing since the Pontiac Solstice and its hammock-style cloth top. The cat, who goes by the name Mr. Fuku, partied hard on the right quarter panel before bedding down over the engine compartment.

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2008 Audi R8: Push to Upshift? Are You Nuts.

July 21, 2008


It has taken me a while, but I've found a flaw in our long-term 2008 Audi R8.

When the car is equipped with the R-tronic transmission, as ours is, you push the shifter to upshift and pull it back to downshift. That's backassward. When you're upshifting, you're accelerating, so you should pull the lever. And when your downshifting, you're decelerating, so you should push the lever. That's how it's been in race cars for years.

Oddly, only Mazda and BMW get this right, even in their SUVs. The shifters in both our long term BMW X5 and Mazda CX-9 are as they should be, while the shifters in all our other cars, including the Cadillac CTS, Pontiac G8 GT and Hyundai Veracruz are backassward.

I know, I know, use the Audi's paddle shifters and the problem is solved, but I'm old school and still like to reach down and feel the action of the R8's aluminum shifter.

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2008 Audi R8: Extra Pics From Seattle Trip

July 10, 2008

r8 roadtrip wrapup1.jpg

Here are just some extra shots taken of our 2008 Audi R8 during the long road to Seattle, Washington, and back. The shot above is taken facing away from that infamous Basshole Bar & Grill, facing the I-5. Temps must have been in the 90s so we parked the R8 under a huge tree.

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2008 Audi R8: Radar Stress Relief

July 10, 2008

r8 roadtrip radar 555.jpg

Oldham has his weapon of choice. But does he know where the bogies are, and how many? This Valentine One I borrowed from my friend (thanks, Sarah F) has saved my bacon time and again on my roadtrip in the 2008 Audi R8.

And talk about range. At one point it alerted about three miles before I actually saw the cruiser.

Another time about 10 miles from the Oregon border, a Washington cop hit us with laser and the V1 exploded with bleeps and lights. With laser, these alerts are too little too late, and you're usually bagged. I had slowed ahead of time, though (call it spidey sense), and escaped unscathed.

Overall, I noticed how the box relieves me from having to constantly scan every overpass, clump of trees and on-ramps for patrol cars, instead allowing me to focus on other things. Like driving.

I gotta get me one of these.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 12,651 miles

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2008 Audi R8: Unsafe and Insane R8 Admirers

July 09, 2008

r8 roadtrip 029.jpg

OK, I get that the 2008 Audi R8 is a totally hot-looking car. Even as I saw it while sitting in another car caravaning behind it, I couldn't help but drool, and I've already ridden in it for over 1,000 miles. And I know that of course people are bound to be curious about it. You don't see many of these on the road. But we've encountered sooo many a-holes on the I-5 because of it. I'm talking people who are cutting off other motorists just to drive beside it, who tailgate us, who squat in our blindspots while on the highway so we can't switch lanes when we need to.

So I thought I'd create a wall of shame, if you will, of said motorists who gave me a glimpse of what it must be like to be a celebutard being hounded by paparazzi. These are only the worst of the offenders.

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2008 Audi R8: Badass Exterior, Warm & Fuzzy Interior

July 08, 2008


I can tell that our Daytona Gray Pearl 2008 Audi R8 looks pretty intimidating on the highway by the way most of the left lane squatters skedaddle out of the way upon our approach.

Some motorists switch lanes even if it means falling in behind a slow-moving semi to get out of our path. And one time a Silverado 2500 almost switched lanes in front of us as we were cruising along, saw us in his driver side mirror and then moved back to his original position in the other lane as if to say, "Oops, pardon," he didn't want to get in our way. That NEVER happens.

But with all its badass looks, the R8 is still awfully comfortable and roomy inside. After 800 miles when the novelty of being in the supercar sorta mellowed, I settled into its high-quality Tuscan Brown leather seat, had my iced grande latte at the ready in the center cupholder, stretched out my legs and almost felt like I was sitting at home in my leather armchair. That is until I looked up and saw Mt. Shasta passing quickly by outside my window.

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2008 Audi R8: The Sunshine

July 06, 2008


Here's a foible I noticed while rocketing up the road in our long-term 2008 Audi R8. The sun visors.

The visors flip down, but they don't swivel over to the side. So when the day draws to a close, the sun makes an obnoxious appearance in the side windows.

Driving north in the flat, cloudless desert in the middle of the summer, this means the sun dazzles the driver of the R8 for roughly half an hour.

Then the sun sets and the R8 returns to 100% Awesome status.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 11,424 miles.

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2008 Audi R8: Bathtime

June 20, 2008

With the Ultimate R8 Road Trip in the history books there was only one thing left to do. Good thing California has liberal child labor laws.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief @ 9,925 miles

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2008 Audi R8: Flat Out Through the West

June 20, 2008

We're finally out of Texas. Five states to go; New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Arizona and California. We could just bang due west and get this trip over with, but come on, we're in an Audi R8 and if there's anyplace in this country you can still go fast it's in the wide open spaces of New Mexico, Utah, Arizona and California.

Plus Monument Valley is just a few short hours away. As is Route 66. It'll add about 500 miles to our trip but so what. We're having fun, and the Audi R8 is comfortable enough that another 500 miles won't be much trouble.

Here are some photographic highlights. Not much to tell, besides the R8 is running perfectly (it got an scheduled oil change at 5,000 miles and will be due for another at 15,000), and my co-driver Scott Jacobs has a bladder the size of a pea.

I'd also like to report that all that BBQ back in Lockhart, Texas has not come back to haunt us.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief @ 9,022 miles

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2008 Audi R8: Is This Texas or Copland?

June 19, 2008

Between Sheffield, Texas and beautiful El Paso there's a cop every 27 feet of I-10. I'm not kidding. For several hundred miles we've witnessed the most condensed concentration of police we've ever seen on any road anywhere.

Still, we're ticket free, baby...

And it has nothing to do with our sticking to the speed limit. I got a new radar detector. I needed one bad. Picked up a Passport 9500i from the friendly folks at Escort and let me tell you, it's the greatest thing since the female. Saved our asses at least 30 times.

Somehow that little black box sniffs out Johnny Law over hills and around corners. And it tells you how fast you're going. The people at Escort figured out that your eyes go to their device (in stead of your cars speedometer) the second it sounds the alarm, so they gave it GPS capability and a speed readout for the first few seconds of an alert. Brilliant.

It also can detect five different signals; X-band, K-band, Ka-band, Ku-band, POP and laser, and the signal strength.

Screw getting an iPod, or a Blackberry, or a calculator watch, the Passport 9500i is the greatest personal electronic device of our time. Trust me, without it we'd be walking home. Or worse, calling mom for bail money.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief @ 8,457 miles

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2008 Audi R8: Mullet Three O'Clock

June 19, 2008

A couple of hundred miles west of our meat and greet, we had a run in with this mullethead and his Mitsubishi Eclipse.

He tailgated the R8, circled us a few times and basically made a pest of himself. We even saw him on his cell phone telling his buddies the tale.

"No I'm dead serious, it's an Audi R8 and I just passed the guy like he was standing still... Did you get the Whitesnake tickets?"

Actually it was fun to toy with the guy who was obviously into our ride. But he also revealed a problem with the Audi's R tronic transmission. If you don't have it in Sport mode it is slow to downshift. Like reeeeeeaaaaaaaal slow. Floor the throttle at 75 mph or so and you get a two count before the thing kicks down and the motor revs up.

We know this because Mr. Mullet actually caught us off guard one time. He was coming up on our right, and I laid into the throttle just too damn late. By the time the Audi's transmission caught up to my right foot, his Hockey hair was past us. Honestly it was embarrassing. We got beat by an Eclipse. At least it had the V6.

Oh well, at least my mustache looks better than his Camaro Cut.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief @ 8,315 miles

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2008 Audi R8: Meat My Road Trip Mustache

June 19, 2008

Hot Rod Jim was a nice find, but up the road in Lockhart is heaven. Gastrointestinal heaven. Bring on the meat, we've landed in BBQ nirvana.

First stop Kreuz (pronounced "Krites") Market, which has been turning out the smoked meats since 1900. Got a quarter pound of brisket and a hot link, and a drink for like six bucks... And it might be the best thing I've ever eaten in my life.


But up the road like a quarter mile is Smitty's Market. It's actually the original Kreuz Market and is owned by the same family. Seems a family rift among Edgar "Smitty" Schmidt's children back in 1999 sent a few of them up the road to a new building with the Kreuz name, which Edgar bought in 1948.

Whatever. Another round of smoked meat on paper please.

The funniest thing is, besides us having two meat lunches within an hour, is that nobody, and I mean nobody in Lockhart asked us about the car. Oh they looked at it, but like Hot Rod Jim they didn't really care enough to bother asking about it. Seemed odd, but with that much good BBQ around your priorities are sure to skew a little.

Actually my road trip mustache is even funnier than that, but now I have the meat sweats so...

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief @ 8,101 miles

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2008 Audi R8: New R8 or '57 Chevy

June 18, 2008

Almost to Lockhart we spot this '57 Chevy and few other assorted 'Merican muscle by the side of the road in Luling. U turn.

Hot Rod Jim (www.hotrodjimtexas.com) turned out to be a cool place. And Jim a cool guy... He gave us a tour of his shop, which specializes in putting C4, C5 and C6 Corvette drivelines and suspension under anything, and told us about the street racing in town back in the day.

"We used to race for a tank of gas," he told us. "'Course, these days that's real money."

The coolest thing about Jim was his complete disinterest in the Audi R8. He didn't look at, he didn't ask us any questions about it. Even after we challenged him to a little drag racin'. And folks, let me tell you, that just doesn't happen.

Nice to meet you Jim.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief @ 8,041 miles

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2008 Audi R8: Welcome to Texas

June 18, 2008

Big place this Texas. Like real big. Kim Kardashian's ass big. Should take us an entire day of hard driving to make it through the other side, plus we're going to make a stop in Lockhart, about 150 miles west of Houston for some of the state's finest BBQ (according to Texas Monthly magazine)...

So with the R8's navigation system navigating we're hammer down on the I-10 looking forward to some of the world's best brisket. But get this. Just outside of Columbus, with the navigation system telling us there's 666 miles of Texas to go, the R8's instrument panel lights up. Car wants oil. One quart.

You follow? 666 and a warning light, at the same time. Coincidence? Not from where I'm sitting. Freaky is more like it.

By the way, that quart of Castol Synthetic was like six bucks.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief @ 7,940 miles

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2008 Audi R8: Cruising the Big Easy

June 17, 2008

According to Wikipedia the priest-chronicler Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix described the city of New Orleans in 1721 as a place of a hundred wretched hovels in a malarious wet thicket of willows and dwarf palmettos, infested by serpents and alligators.

Yup. Sounds about right. And at this very moment they're all looking at an Audi R8 cruising Bourbon street... It's about 11 AM, so most of the bars are closed and there are only several dozen visibly intoxicated serpents and alligators looking for a public place to relieve them selves.

Yo, not on the car, dude.

The tight confines of the French Quarter, which is thriving despite being under water a couple of years ago, would normally knock a mid-engine supercar off its rung. But not the R8. The same wonderful machine that got us here on 469 miles of mindless interstate, is just as wonderful on these heavily crowded, heavily potholed streets.

No it isn't a Lexus, but it's certainly comfortable. And compared to that Nissan GT-R I drove 2,000 miles a couple of months ago, it is a Lexus. Even the R tronic transmission, which we honestly didn't want, now makes all the sense in the world. We've been stuck behind a horse and buggy for ten blocks, but with the transmission in Auto mode, its been very easy to work my Blackberry while dodging the animal's sizable stool.

Although part throttle take off and upshifts still aren't as smooth as a conventional automatic, they're better than we've experienced in other cars with similar gearboxes. Hate to say it, but if your R8 is going to spend most of its time in the city R tronic just might be the way to go.

Now, what are these beads for?

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2008 Audi R8: Truck It? Truck That.

June 17, 2008

The boys are thirsty in Atlanta and there's beer in Texarkana and we'll bring it back no matter what it takes. — Jerry Reed, Eastbound and Down, Smokey and the Bandit, 1977

It was with that mentality that we went and got our Audi R8 in Atlanta, Georgia — because it was there and it needed to be here, back at our office in Santa Monica, California. Well, that and a 3,000-mile road trip in one of the world's great cars sounded better than a week in the cubicle.

Believe it or not, Audi wanted to truck the car out west... Puhhh-lease. That'd be like turning down a hot tub date with the Pussycat Dolls because there's just too many of them.

Not us. We put on our Speedo, packed up our gas credit card and jumped in the water. After all, the point of our spending the next three months with Audi's new spaceship is to find out if it really is the ultimate everyday supercar. And what better way to start this little experiment than a four-day, 3,000-mile run from Hotlanta to the Pacific Ocean?

So come along for the ride; first stop Nawlins, Weasiana.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief @ 7,041 miles

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