11.13.2008

Audi R8 Review



It's the question professional TireKickers (aka automotive journalists) get asked all the time:

"What's your favorite car?"

For 11 years, I had to answer the question with a question. What type? I mean, the Rolls-Royce Phantom is a great car...but so's the Honda Accord LX. I've never met a Porsche 911 I didn't like...but on the other hand, if you've got two or more kids and strollers, Pak-And-Plays and trips to Costco are part of your life, Chevy Suburbans just plain rock.

All those things still apply. But if you gave me a Venti Sodium Pentathol (half-caf, please) right now, I'd fess up:

The Audi R8 is my favorite car.


There have been a lot of cars over the years that I wouldn't have minded if the manufacturer forgot to come get at the end of a week's worth of testing. The R8 had me praying for mass amnesia at Audi of America.

Yes, this is the car I referred to in my review of the Audi A5/S5 as the car I'd look over my shoulder at after I parked it. Not that I'd ever walk very far. The R8 is a people magnet. Car people, non-car people...doesn't matter. They all want to know what it is...and most are shocked to hear it's an Audi (they were guessing Ferrari or Lamborghini).


The cockpit is tight, but supercar cockpits are, and the R8 is by far the most comfortable and user-friendly of the bunch. Fire up the engine and you know you've got something special. A 4.2 liter V8 with 420 horsepower gets the R8 from zero to 60 in 4.4 seconds. It does the quarter-mile in 12.7 seconds. Top speed is 187 (electronically limited because the tires couldn't take more). It handles like a slot car.

Gas mileage (are we really talking about this?) is amazingly good for this type of car...an EPA estimated 13 city/18 highway for the R-tronic manumatic...12 city/19 highway for the stock stick. With a 23.8 gallon tank, that means 425-plus miles worth of cruising range. Breakfast in Boston? Lunch in Laguna Beach? Dinner in Denver? Getting there in the R8 would be more than half the fun.

If you can find a dealer willing to sell you one at list price, figure on $125,000, give or take. It is so worth it.

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