Audi R8

Audi released its first street-legal R8 in 2008. Before that, the R8 name was reserved for an Audi high performance race car that won numerous "24 Hours of Le Mans" races. The street-legal R8 represents the culmination of engineering experience learned from years of manufacturing some of the best race cars and consumer vehicles available on the market.

More on the Audi R8
Audi R8 Origins

After Audi introduced the R8 at the 2008 Auto Expo of Medellin and the Bogota International Auto Show, consumers bought every available car within one week. Only a limited amount of the R8s continues to be shipped to North America. This creates a rush to purchase the Audi vehicles, which are known to be one of the most fascinating, powerful vehicles available on the consumer market. While this demand can make it difficult for consumers to purchase the R8, it also boosts demand and creates an elite aura around the vehicle.

From the beginning, Audi designed the R8 for a mid-mounted engine. Instead of placing the engine under the hood or in the truck, Audi put the engine behind the driver. Of course, Audi also included its revolutionary quattro, or all-wheel drive, powertrain system, which delivers equal power to all four wheels. Distributing the power in this way means that drivers get the power they want on the road without sacrificing the handling they need to enjoy the ride.

The Audi R8 also takes advantage of the company's commitment to the all-aluminum "space frame" chassis. This reduces the overall weight of the car, gives it added strength and makes it safer. Given the intense power created by the R8, consumers cannot expect terrific gas economy from the R8. Lamborghini Gallardo, Mercedes-Benz SLS SMG, Ferrari 360, and Lotus Seven have all adapted the space frame to their vehicles.

About the Audi R8

The Audi R8 is not designed for the average consumer. 2012 V8 Audi R8 coupes with a standard 4.2 engine sells for more than $120,000, whereas the 5.2 engine sells for more than $140,000. The convertible version, also known as the Spyder, sells for over $120,000. A 2012 Audi R8 GT 5.2 FSI Spyder convertible, the most expensive version of the car, sells for over $170,000.

The few consumers who can afford to purchase such an expensive car, however, get the advantage of driving one of the finest machines on the road. Unlike most sports cars, the Audi R8 offers a comfortable ride for daily use. Like most Audi vehicles, it has a stunning interior with plenty of headroom. Six-foot drivers will feel comfortable behind the wheel of this expertly designed car.

Of course, the Audi R8 is best known for its sporty looks and massive power. Audi carefully avoided the pitfalls many designers fall into when designing a sports car. It doesn't have alternative doors or a flamboyant rear. Instead, the R8 has a sophisticated design that cuts through air effortlessly. With one look, it's obvious that it's a genuine sports car. But there's one thing that sets the R8 a part from any other sports car: it doesn't look like the result of a mid-life crisis but a carefully chosen piece of machinery.

Audi R8 Features

The 2012 Audi R8 comes in coupe and convertible (Spyder) versions. Consumers can also choose between the R8 4.2 quattro, featuring a 4.2-liter V8 that offers 430 hp and 317 pound-feet of torque; and the R8 5.2 quattro, a significantly more powerful V-10 that can produce 525 hp and 391 pound-feet of torque. Regardless of the R8 variations, the vehicle offers excellent power and performance.

Given the mid-vehicle engine placement, it's not surprising that this two-seater has an abbreviated and conical nose. The headlights include 12 LEDs that act as running lights during the day. LEDs also accent the car's rear and sides.

Both the 4.2 and 5.2 Audi R8 come with 19-inch alloy wheels, heated leather seats, and active dampers. Buyers of the 4.2 can choose to upgrade the car's stereo to a Bang & Olufsen system. They can also add a navigation system and upgrade to leather upholstery. The sound system, navigation system, and leather upholstery come standard with the 5.2.

Experts have only noticed two disadvantages to the Audi R8. The vehicle comes with either a manual transmission or an "R Tronic" transmission that can act as a manual or automatic. Unfortunately, the automatic transmission does not switch gears evenly, which can create a somewhat clunky ride. Also, the car has a tiny trunk, but that's expected to any prospective sports car buyer.

Audi R8 Evolution

The Audi R8 was released in 2008, so there has not been much time to make drastic changes. The 2008 model, however, only came with a 420-horsepower, 4.2-liter V-8 engine. The 5.2-liter V-10 engine was not available until 2010. In 2011, Audi added 10 hp to the R8 and released a convertible version in addition to the coupe.

Select an Audi R8 Year

2014 Audi R8

Convertible, Coupe, Sports

2012 Audi R8

Convertible, Coupe, Sports

Among the numerous changes to the R8 GT is added power to the already beastly 5.2-liter V-10 engine. It now produces 560 hp, compared with the previous 525 hp. The GT will have limited colors available for this model year.

2011 Audi R8

Convertible, Coupe, Sports

After launching the new V-10 engine last year, the R8 model gets another update with the new convertible model, called the R8 Spyder 5.2. Mechanically, it’s identical to the R8 5.2 with its V-10 engine and Audi’s signature quattro all-wheel drive. Cutting off the roof and adding a power folding top and the requisite chassis reinforcements adds about 200 pounds to the R8’s curb weight.

2009 Audi R8

Coupe, Sports

The 2009 Audi R8 is a vehicle that will get you lots of attention when you’re behind the wheel.

2008 Audi R8

Coupe, Sports

The 2008 Audi R8 is a powerful and beautiful high-end sports car.

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