2018 Audi R8 Review
Edmunds expert review
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 for 2018
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.
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.
Noise & vibration8.0
Ease of use9.0
Getting in/getting out6.0
Audio & navigation8.0
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.