2018 Audi R8

2018 Audi R8 Review

A thrilling V10 and long-distance comfort make the 2018 Audi R8 an irresistible sports car.
4 star edmunds overall rating
4 star edmunds overall rating
author
by Carlos Lago
Edmunds Editor

Fully redesigned last year, this mid-engine super sports car shares its engine and underlying structure with the Lamborghini Huracan. Though it looks decidedly less dramatic by comparison, its performance is anything but.

While the seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission is happy to engage launch control and fling the R8 ahead at exhilarating speeds, it's just as happy loping around town at low speeds. The interior contains a large digital display gauge cluster, while the adaptive dampers on the all-wheel-drive models ensure a calm, daily-drivable ride. The Spyder's folding soft top takes 19 seconds to open or shut, and it can do either at vehicle speeds up to 31 mph.

Clearly the genius of the R8, past the born-for-Hollywood design of the original, is how it pairs incredible performance with real-world drivability.



what's new

After last year's complete redesign, the Audi R8 undergoes some notable changes for 2018. A new and less expensive RWS variant offers a lower weight, thanks to its rear-wheel-drive configuration. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration has been added as standard equipment, and laser-assisted LED headlights are available.


we recommend

While we can't deny the appeal of 610 horsepower from the Plus, its focus on performance comes at the cost of comfort and smoothness, which are the R8's key attributes. As such, we'd get the R8 V10 Coupe since it delivers enough thrills to satisfy even hard-core enthusiasts. Its all-wheel drive, standard adaptive suspension, fully adjustable seats and larger fuel tank make it the ideal exotic sports car to drive every day.




trim levels & features

The 2018 Audi R8 is available as a coupe or convertible (the Spyder). Aside from the folding roof, the coupe and convertible are largely the same in terms of standard equipment. The sole exception is the rear-wheel-drive RWS, which is only available as a coupe. A performance-oriented Plus trim is available for both variants that offers more horsepower and a lower weight but sacrifices some comfort for the sake of speed.

The R8 lineup starts with the Coupe RWS, which is the new rear-wheel-drive version. It uses the same 5.2-liter V10 (532 horsepower, 398 pound-feet of torque) and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission as the all-wheel-drive, non-Plus R8. Standard feature highlights include 19-inch wheels, black exhaust tips, LED head- and taillights, a fixed sport suspension, keyless entry and ignition, 14-way power and heated leather seats, parking sensors and a rearview camera. Information and entertainment features include a digital instrument cluster, navigation, satellite radio, and support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Beyond 20-inch wheels and decorative inlays, options for the RWS include a Premium Package that adds 18-way power-adjustable seats with pneumatic side and leg bolsters, a microfiber suede headliner, a 13-speaker and 550-watt sound system, additional leather upholstery, automatic high-beams, and illuminated doorsills.

The all-wheel-drive R8 V10 comes with the same features as the RWS equipped with the Premium package. It also includes adaptive suspension dampers, a front and rear spoiler, and adjustable drive settings. The Spyder adds a folding soft top and a glass wind blocker.

Options for the R8 are pretty much limited to different wheels and additional interior trim and upholstery choices, though carbon-ceramic brakes, laser-enhanced LED headlights and a variable ratio steering system are also available.

The R8 Plus ups the V10 engine's output to 602 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque and gains the carbon-ceramic brakes and laser headlights as standard equipment. It also sports a more stiffly tuned suspension that lacks the adjustable dampers. In the name of saving weight, it has a slightly smaller gas tank, a five-speaker sound system and racing-style seats that lack backrest-angle adjustment.



The R8 lineup starts with the Coupe RWS, which is the new rear-wheel-drive version. It uses the same 5.2-liter V10 (532 horsepower, 398 pound-feet of torque) and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission as the all-wheel-drive, non-Plus R8. Standard feature highlights include 19-inch wheels, black exhaust tips, LED head- and taillights, a fixed sport suspension, keyless entry and ignition, 14-way power and heated leather seats, parking sensors and a rearview camera. Information and entertainment features include a digital instrument cluster, navigation, satellite radio, and support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Beyond 20-inch wheels and decorative inlays, options for the RWS include a Premium Package that adds 18-way power-adjustable seats with pneumatic side and leg bolsters, a microfiber suede headliner, a 13-speaker and 550-watt sound system, additional leather upholstery, automatic high-beams, and illuminated doorsills.

The all-wheel-drive R8 V10 comes with the same features as the RWS equipped with the Premium package. It also includes adaptive suspension dampers, a front and rear spoiler, and adjustable drive settings. The Spyder adds a folding soft top and a glass wind blocker.

Options for the R8 are pretty much limited to different wheels and additional interior trim and upholstery choices, though carbon-ceramic brakes, laser-enhanced LED headlights and a variable ratio steering system are also available.

The R8 Plus ups the V10 engine's output to 602 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque and gains the carbon-ceramic brakes and laser headlights as standard equipment. It also sports a more stiffly tuned suspension that lacks the adjustable dampers. In the name of saving weight, it has a slightly smaller gas tank, a five-speaker sound system and racing-style seats that lack backrest-angle adjustment.

trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the Audi R8 V10 Plus Coupe (5.2L V10 | 7-speed dual-clutch automatic | AWD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted in 2017, the current Audi R8 has received some revisions, including standard smartphone integration and the addition of a rear-wheel-drive model. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Audi R8.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall4.0 / 5.0

Driving

5.0 / 5.0

Acceleration5.0 / 5.0
Braking5.0 / 5.0
Steering5.0 / 5.0
Handling5.0 / 5.0
Drivability5.0 / 5.0

Comfort

4.0 / 5.0

Seat comfort3.0 / 5.0
Ride comfort5.0 / 5.0
Noise & vibration4.0 / 5.0
Climate control4.0 / 5.0

Interior

4.0 / 5.0

Ease of use5.0 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out2.5 / 5.0
Driving position3.0 / 5.0
Roominess4.0 / 5.0
Visibility4.0 / 5.0

Utility

2.5 / 5.0

Small-item storage2.5 / 5.0
Cargo space3.0 / 5.0

Technology

4.0 / 5.0

Audio & navigation4.0 / 5.0
Smartphone integration4.0 / 5.0
Voice control3.0 / 5.0

driving

edmunds rating
The Audi R8 V10 Plus delivers the performance expected of an exotic sports car. Acceleration is otherworldly, and handling is unflappable. What's surprising, though, is how easy it is to explore its incredible capabilities and how pleasant it drives when you're not dropping the hammer.

acceleration

edmunds rating
The R8 V10 Plus accelerates to 60 mph in only 3 seconds. That's darn quick, if you're wondering. But even more impressive is how easy it is to achieve. The sophisticated launch control requires zero finesse to operate perfectly, and the 610-horsepower V10 provides a very robust and linear powerband.

braking

edmunds rating
Stopping from 60 mph requires only 97 feet, and the standard ceramic brakes keep the distance consistent within a few feet over repeated hard braking runs. The pedal is reassuringly firm under full-panic stops yet easy to modulate in casual driving, without a hint of touchiness or squeal.

steering

edmunds rating
Steering is effortlessly light crawling through parking lots and firms up for more stability as speed increases. On twisting roads, turn-in is quick and responsive but not darty. And there's ample feedback to know when you've exceeded the limits of front tire grip.

handling

edmunds rating
The R8 slices through turns with precision and confidence. All-wheel drive adds a component of stability, but it's subtle enough that you feel as if you, not the computers, are still running the ship. Dynamic mode allows the tail to rotate a bit more, but a safety net of understeer is ever present.

drivability

edmunds rating
Unlike some sports cars, the R8 doesn't mean compromising everyday drivability. Set the driving mode to Comfort and the smooth-shifting dual-clutch transmission into full automatic and you can run errands all day long. The R8's small turning circle makes it easy to maneuver in tight spaces.

comfort

edmunds rating
Were it not for the narrow and fixed seatbacks, the R8 Plus would have scored higher. The R8's refined ride is certainly at the top of the class. If the seats suit your frame, then long-distance comfort is excellent.

seat comfort

edmunds rating
The race-style seats in the Plus are well shaped and comfortable for long stints, but only for drivers with a narrow body. The aggressive side bolstering could be a deal breaker for even average-size drivers. The R8's regular seats are more comfortable.

ride comfort

edmunds rating
The ride quality is on the stiff side, but it's never punishing or vexing. It's significantly smoother than many other cars in the class, even without the adaptive suspension.

noise & vibration

edmunds rating
The cabin blocks out nearly all wind noise, though a noticeable amount of road noise is present on nearly any road surface. It's not severe enough to warrant complaint and is usually drowned out by the glorious snarls and crackles emanating from the V10 engine behind you.

climate control

edmunds rating
The new take on a traditional three-dial climate control is as easy to operate as it is pleasing to the eye. It's only a single-zone system, but the cabin is small so dual controls wouldn't make much sense. After setting the cabin temperature, we never had to adjust it.

interior

edmunds rating
Sleek, understated design blends with bleeding-edge technology for an exceptionally modern cabin that's easy to acclimate to. For the average-size driver, the aggressive seats and cockpit will fit like a tailored suit, but larger occupants might feel as if things have shrunk a bit in the wash.

ease of use

edmunds rating
The steering wheel is packed with buttons and controls for functions such as exhaust flaps, drive modes and configuring the virtual gauge cluster, all thoughtfully arranged, intuitive to use and accessible. The rest of the cabin is comparably light on buttons, and the simplicity is refreshing.

getting in/getting out

edmunds rating
You won't have to be a contortionist to climb into the cabin, but the low seat height, low roofline and wide sill stepover make the R8 more of a challenge to get into than your typical sport coupe. The same goes for climbing out.

driving position

edmunds rating
The upright and nonadjustable seatback is ideal for spirited driving, but this, and the lack of power adjustments, could be an issue for some desiring a more relaxed driving position. The dead pedal is located a bit inward for clearance reasons, which caused ankle discomfort after some time.

roominess

edmunds rating
The R8 might not be hugely spacious inside, but a wide, flat dash provides the appearance of a more open and roomy cabin compared with some competitors whose cabins feel more claustrophobic.

visibility

edmunds rating
Visibility is better than in many other sports cars. Narrow front roof pillars expand your view through turns, and rearview mirrors cover a lot of the road behind you. But the rearview camera, which appears in the gauge cluster, is often blocked by steering wheel spokes when backing into a spot.

utility

edmunds rating
Sports cars aren't regarded for their practicality, and mid-engine cars typically come up shorter than others in this area. Cargo space and interior storage are limited in the R8, but there's enough space for a weekend getaway for two.

small-item storage

edmunds rating
Interior storage consists of just a few small bins and shallow pockets to store your personal items. The cupholders are in the center console bin, right where you'd rest your elbow when it's closed. Obviously, the design is less than ideal.

cargo space

edmunds rating
A narrow but deep front trunk holds about 8 cubic feet of storage, which is enough to carry a small suitcase case or a couple duffle bags. There is also a narrow shelf behind the seats.

technology

edmunds rating
Audi's MMI infotainment system remains one of the best in the industry for its wide array of functions and ease of use. Some of the more advanced safety features are absent, but in an engaging sports car like this, they're not missed.

audio & navigation

edmunds rating
All MMI infotainment functions are shown on the R8's virtual gauge cluster display. As such, it's easy to keep your eyes forward and on the road. Audi's MMI system is one of the better units out there, and the Bang & Olufsen audio system (optional on the Plus) has great power and clarity.

smartphone integration

edmunds rating
The 2018 R8 supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Though we'd prefer a touchscreen instead of a rotary dial, at least both systems provide access to highly capable voice recognition features.

voice control

edmunds rating
Voice recognition is sometimes hampered by the noise from the road and engine. In quieter situations, it processes commands just fine and includes access to Google Voice Search.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.