The Audi R8 is a very, very special car.  If you don’t think so, you might not know much about it or you didn’t have a chance to really step back and realize how absolutely special it is.

I was one who didn’t really like the R8 in the beginning.  Granted I was about 9 years younger when it came out and didn’t really have much deeper of an appreciation for cars.  It simply didn’t click with me.  Here’s a luxury brand trying to make a cool, fast car that was just as plain as the rest of its fleet.

I wasn’t entirely wrong, though.

The R8 mostly got cast aside because of what it was.  A super car from a manufacture who usually makes secluded sedans and SUV’s.  Who would have thought?

On top of that, the R8 wasn’t very daring (on the styling front) for a car even in 2008.  It was very clean looking, but besides the air blade on the side of the car, it didn’t have as much pizzazz as a Ferrari.

To further the issue, the suggested retail price of an R8 back then was just around $100,000.  It wasn’t super expensive (which is good because that was when the stock market crashed and no one had money) either.

So, why was this car so special and why is it still so special today?

It’s Unheard Of:

Audi R8

We’ve seen luxury car manufactures try their shot making a halo super car to spur on excitement for the brand, and many times it just hasn’t worked.

To think about it, Chrysler tried to make the ME-412 years ago when it was closely tied to Mercedes.  While that would have been awesome, it just didn’t happen.

Acura did it in the 90’s with the NSX which was a fantastic car, but the new NSX just didn’t have the same effect as the old one.  No one really went crazy and it was priced too high.

Lexus made the LFA which was an amazing car and still is one of the best sounding cars ever, but that was it.  That was the only attempt they had.  It was priced preposterously high as well.

For one reason or another, people just don’t want these kinds of cars.

But Audi really did something special.  In 2008, Audi revealed the R8 and it must have sold like mad because they’re still making new ones today.

A company known mostly for sedans created a super car and it stuck.  No one else can say that.  Back in 2008, Audi wasn’t even as lavish as it is now.  It was more of a budget luxury brand if you couldn’t afford Mercedes or BMW.

Then came the R8.  A super car as a flagship to move things up market.  Perfect.

It was a super car that was (relatively) obtainable for people.  A bit more than a 911 and had all of the exotic-ness it needed.

Even today the old R8’s still look great.  They’re still fast, too.  On top of that and more importantly, Audi is now a more luxurious brand and it’s all thanks to the R8.

I remember how cool this thing was when it came out.  It still holds the same desire today, but people really went nuts for the R8 when it was a fresh idea.   One of the most brilliant ideas in the history of cars if you ask me.

The Power:

The Audi R8 originally came standard with a beautiful V8 engine and could be upgraded to the now standard issue V10 engine from the Lamborghini Huracan.  You can thank VW for that.

From the standard 4.2 L V8 engine, the R8 produced 420 horse power and the upgraded V10 5.2 L produced 525  horse power when it was released in 2010.

Zero to sixty was done in just about four seconds and the top speed was around 187 miles per hour.  Proper super car stuff of 2008.

Back in 2007, Road and Track ran an article on the R8 calling its transmission one of the smoothest on the market.  Audi really made the R8 a work of automotive art.

And of course, you could get Audi’s amazing Quattro all wheel drive system on the R8.

Fast forward to now, and you’ll see the R8 has come some ways since then.  But it still is a true fighter.

Now, Audi got rid of the V8 engine as the base option.  You’re forced to start with a V10 (poor you).

This obviously Huracan/VW derived V10 produces 540 horse power in the standard car and can jump up to the Lamborghini spec 610 horse power for the V10 Plus.

These days, the Audi R8 V10 Plus will do zero to zixty in as little as 2.6 seconds.  Many thanks to the Quattro all wheel drive which gets all that power down to the pavement effectively.

Styling:

The Audi R8 from the get-go had a lot going for it.  The side blades being one of the most instantly recognizable traits.  The sloping lines and wide hips were all very at home on the car and it looked great.

In the world of super cars, the R8 wasn’t as flamboyant as a Ferrari or Lamborghini but it did have its charm.  It had all of the ingredients of a super car but nothing more.  And it worked out incredibly well.

On top of that, the R8 was one of the first cars to have LED light signatures on the head lights.  These days every car has LED signatures, but the R8 really pioneered.  Another trophy for its cabinet.

The new car definitely took some getting used to when it came out.  The massive front grille takes up most of the front end and personally, I’m not a fan.  I’m sure it isn’t, but it looks like a cheap way to fill up space on the front.

Past that, as I’m sure most of us agree, the car is lovely.

Audi half got rid of the side blades from the original car, which you don’t really notice until someone points it out.  I personally loved the blades because of how unique they were, but aerodynamics chose to cut them in half on the new car.

The rear end of the car is a proper evolution of the Audi R8 and it looks fantastic any way you spin it.  Plus is sounds great.

Interior:

The inside of the Audi R8 got progressively more intense.  When it was released, the interior was a bit bare and definitely is one of the only tell-tale signs that it is a 2008 Audi.

Now since the brand went upmarket, the interior is truly a fighter jet cockpit.  It’s insane.

There is no infotainment screen  Instead the driver has all the info on his or her instrument cluster.  Everything is sharp and driver focused as a super car’s interior should be.

On top of all of this, the car rides much smoother on the road rather than the original car with all sorts of technology.  As usual, Audi’s driving position is completely flawless.

Final Thoughts:

The Audi R8 is a legendary car.  It even has a racing pedigree, which to me is very important.

It has achieved amazing things for the brand and is still kicking as strong as ever.

 

 

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