So, I had a fantastic day recently, where I was privileged to be invited to drive a number of performance cars on a rooftop from one of my favourite performance brands, which is Audi. My most adrenalin inducing experience took place in the Audi R8, and no other Audi is closer to motor racing: The Audi R8 is the dynamic spearhead and the fastest volume-production model of the Audi Sport brand.
We were lucky enough to face up to our colleagues in a drag sprint, and I was up against a pretty quick and wily competitor, Dennis Droppa of The Business Day. First sprint, he ate me like I was a tasty treat, as I attempted to use launch control, and must have got it horribly wrong.
Second up, we swopped cars, and this time tried launch control again, and ate him in the same manner. Great fun indeed, and we left it at one all. Not every day you get to drag your mates on a Sandton rooftop, in a 3 million rand car, as iconic as the Audi R8.
So lets look at how it looks, and damn man, it just looks butch, and very fast. More pointedly, it looks like a honed athlete. The Singleframe radiator grille is even wider and flatter. In combination with the dimmed headlights and adjoining design elements, the R8 looks even sharper. The diffuser is even more dominant and frames the new oval exhaust tailpipes.
The Audi rings and badges on the exterior are painted in high-gloss black and are complemented by the standard carbon exterior mirror housings and sideblade. The new metallic colours of Kemora grey and Ascari blue are recent additions to the updated paint range.
The new look extends to the interior of the Audi R8 with its driver focus orientation. New options here include the R8 sports seat with fine Nappa leather and diamond stitching as standard. Customers are able to select between the upholstery colours of red, white or black. The seats are snug, and you need this, as when you take off, you don’t really want to be wafting around in your seat.
As I stated before, the experience is very driver focused, personally I want to drive the car alone, just me and the R8, and then you can enjoy every moment, totally focused, without anyone telling you to do this or that, and more importantly, to slow down.
The entire operating concept focuses on the driver alone, who can operate all key functions without having to take their hands off the steering wheel or look away from the road.
In the operating concept of the new Audi R8, two standard-fit high-tech modules are merged into one unit: The information from the MMI navigation plus is shown in the revised Audi virtual cockpit. It has a 12.3-inch display and the driver can use the “View” button on the steering wheel to switch between views.
The performance screen is dominated by a large tachometer. Different gages can be positioned around it, for example for output, torque, G-forces, lap times, engine and transmission oil temperatures, tyre pressure and temperature.
The Audi phone box and Smartphone Interface are additional standard features which enhance the interior comfort and technology to the new Audi R8 cabin experience.
Other key standard equipment includes: rear view camera, electric and folding exterior mirrors, comfort key, parking aid plus, R8 sport seats, seat heaters, tyre mobility kit with a tyre pressure monitoring system (to name a few).
Let’s talk about what the R8 is all about, performance, performance & and more of the same! Instant response, lightning-fast high-revving and a unique sound – the V10 naturally aspirated engine is the heart of the Audi R8.
Pushing a big 449kw, with a peak torque of 560 Nm. The Coupé sprints to 100 km/h in 3.2 seconds, and the Spyder takes 3.3 seconds. The propulsive power ends at 3310/329 km/h. The V10 naturally aspirated engines with 5.2 litres of displacement come standard with the R8 sports exhaust system. The transmission is a 7-speed S tronic gearbox. I loved the absolute grunt, and muscled power that the R8 exudes. We only drove it in a straight line, but the sports suspension delivers precision and response all round.
Ceramic brakes as well as red calipers are a standard feature. The stabilizer at the front axle is optionally made from carbon fibre-reinforced polymer (CFRP) and aluminium, which cuts weight at the front axle by around two kilograms. We needed the sharp braking at the end of the short run of our drag, and there were no problems on that front.
The facelifted Audi R8 is equipped with factory-installed 20-inch Audi Sport wheels V-spoke Evo design wheels in two colour options – titanium (standard)or matte bronze. An alternative 20-inch 5-double spoke dynamic style alloy wheel in anthracite black is also available
The new Audi R8 will officially go on sale in South Africa from 1 April 2021. The updated Audi R8 range is priced as follows (inclusive of all taxes) and comes standard with a five year Audi Freeway Plan:
Audi R8 Coupé V10 performance quattro R3,336,000
Audi R8 Spyder V10 performance quattro R3,592,500
The Audi R8 has always been a drivers car, call it a petrolhead, whatever, but people that like performance, coupled with build quality bar none, and a car that makes a big statement wherever it goes, will want to have their behind in this baby. I am one of them.