2018 Audi R8 Review
2018 Audi R8 Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
Carlos Lago has worked in the automotive industry since 2008. Along with an extensive background in performance testing and evaluation, he has produced hundreds of car-related articles and videos.
- Blissful, high-revving V10 engine
- Comfortable ride and gorgeous interior
- Many of Audi's latest advanced driver safety aids aren't available
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.
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.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2018 Audi R8 V10 RWS 2dr Coupe (5.2L 10cyl 7AM) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.92 per gallon for premium unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$259/mo for R8 V10 RWS
R8 V10 RWS
Avg. Compact Car
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.
Edmunds' Expert Rating8.1 / 10
Boasting motorsports-derived construction and a gloriously high-revving, naturally aspirated V10 that's mounted behind the cabin, the 2018 Audi R8 ticks every box on the exotic car desirability checklist. It's also surprisingly easy and comfortable to drive.
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.
|Overall||8.1 / 10|
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 & vibration8.0
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.
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.
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 use9.0
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 out6.0
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 & navigation8.0
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.
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 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.
Which R8 does Edmunds 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.
2018 Audi R8 models
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.
5.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
My Rocket Ship
Xxx Xxxxxxx, 06/03/2017
2017 Audi R8 V10 plus quattro 2dr Coupe AWD (5.2L 10cyl 7AM)
Went to buy new Ferrari, saw R8 and saved over $150,000, and got same performance.
We have a limited number of reviews for the 2018 Audi R8, so we've included reviews for other years of the R8 since its last redesign.
2018 Audi R8 video
[MUSIC PLAYING] MARK TAKAHASHI: Hey, everybody, here's an easy one. What's got two thumbs, loves a mid engine rear wheel drive sports car? This guy. Right behind here is the all new 2018 Audi R8 V10 RWS. RW stands for rear wheel. That's right, it's rear wheel drive. What does that mean? Well, the regular R8 is really insanely capable when it comes to handling. This is rear wheel drive, so that means it's going to get really squirrely. By really squirrely, I mean really fun. So think of it almost like the Valentino Balboni edition that Lamborghini put out. Where it's really meant to get tail happy and drifty. I can't wait to drive it, I hope I do. But it's not going to be that easy, and I'll get to that later. So this version, it's going to be available as either coupe or convertible. And it's going to have the 540 horsepower V10 that's in the regular R8. Now there's no word if it's actually going to get the V10 plus, which has 610 horsepower. I mean, that'd be excessive, right? Like the other R8s, this has a seven speed dual clutch automatic transmission with paddle shifters. And I got to drive it last year sometime. And it was an insane blast. Man, is this car good. On top of that, since there's no front wheel drive mechanics going on underneath, it's also 110 pounds lighter. And that's 110 pounds lighter in the nose. So that means the balance is being shifted further back for even more tail happy fun. Now visually, the differences, they're pretty slight. The slide blade that's kind of been an R8 trademark since the beginning, it's body colored on the bottom, gloss black on top. And that kind of echoes their LMS race car. Very cool. Also, that red stripe there, it's an option. I kind of like it though. So there's going to be 999 versions available worldwide and that's it. About a third of them, they're going to come to the US. Prices? We'll see. It should be hitting Europe sometime this fall. US, it'll follow a couple of months later. So the beginning of 2018. So for more information on this R8 as well as any of the R8s and its competition, head on over to edmunds.com. If you want to see more videos like this, hit subscribe and check out all of our other videos. [MUSIC PLAYING]
2018 Audi R8 V10 RWS First Look: Frankfurt Auto Show
Edmunds 2018 Audi R8 V10 RWS debut from the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show. Senior Writer Mark Takahashi checks out the 2018 Audi R8 V10 RWS, Audi's new rear-wheel-drive version of the sports car, which will be available as a coupe or convertible. Like the regular R8, it has the… seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission with paddle shifters and the 540-horsepower V10. But with rear-wheel drive instead of AWD, it has the potential to get really squirrelly and really fun. Watch the video for more on Audi's new rear-wheel-drive R8.
2018 R8 Highlights
|Combined MPG||18 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$259/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||rear wheel drive|
|Warranty||4 years / 50,000 miles|
Our experts like the R8 models:
- Rearview Camera
- Shows you what's behind the vehicle to make reversing safer and easier.
- Front and Rear Parking Sensors
- Gives you an acoustic alert as the vehicle approaches objects while you park.
- Tire Pressure Monitoring System
- Notifies you if the pressure in a given tire drops below the recommended amount.