It was a real “pinch me” moment to finally get my hands on the latest evolution of the Audi R8. It had been a car that, since its launch in 2006, had a place firmly rooted as my dream car as a teenager, and even into adulthood it just has a discreet presence that makes it a supercar you really feel like you can live with.
The best news about the R8 is that you really could use this car every single day of the year. As it is an Audi, we can start inside. The cabin is surprisingly spacious despite the sense of being cocooned inside a very squat, low supercar. Materials are of the highest quality and all of the controls have a really tactile feeling to them. Apart from the additions of a chequered flag button on the steering wheel (for race mode) it is an uncluttered and un-fussy space. It’s a comfortable place to be and, unless you are deliberately deciding to test the engine at the upper end of the 8,700rpm limit, it’s actually fairly quiet. The 2020 R8 even comes with Auto Start/Stop so you can be kinder to the environment too.
Speaking of the engine, Audi are so proud of this effort that it is permanently on display through the rear glass. The naturally-aspirated 5.2-litre V10 in this R8 is a thing of absolute beauty, albeit with the ferocity of a beast when you really put your foot down. I have to ashamedly admit that I spent 95% of my time driving in Sport Mode, which effectively unleashes an orchestra of crackles and pops even at lower speeds. I do think I even spotted a couple of deliberate downshifts in fully automatic mode, as if the R8 was just showing off the noise it can make at a higher rpm. The engine is the star of the show, and I’m really not sure anything on the planet can compare to a mid-mounted V10 that sits so close to the back of your head.
Elsewhere, Audi have sharpened up both the front and the rear ends of the R8, and there are bigger exhausts which give it a real presence on the road. With the V10 taking up almost half of the footprint of the car, storage is slightly at a premium, and so you have to make do with a 112-litre area under the hood in addition to a 226-litre shelf that sits behind the two seats. Useful for popping to the shops, but not so much for a family of four. Speaking of practicality, you should get about 250 miles on a full tank which makes this more of a pure supercar than a GT.
The verdict? Audi continue to flex their muscles and demonstrate the sheer beauty of the V10 engine alongside their commitment to going electric. If you have the money, the R8 really is the everyday supercar. On one hand, it will cocoon you and gently roll along the roads discreetly. On the other hand, it will happily scream and shout as it hares along the tarmac and take corners at supercar speeds.
The Audi R8 starts at £114,000 and you can find out more on the Audi website here.