Audi R8 Review & Prices
The Audi R8 V10 has stonking performance and a soundtrack straight from petrolhead heaven. It’s well built and easy to drive, but can’t match alternatives’ exclusivity
Find out more about the Audi R8
Sensible supercar. If that’s not an oxymoron we don’t know what is. But the Audi R8 really does live up to that title, because unlike some more highly strung rivals, such as the Lamborghini Huracan, you can actually use it every day. Since this model was first launched in 2015 it has grown into a more aggressive-looking sports car with the performance to match.
Just take its front-end for example. Those three rally car-inspired vents above the grille might be shared with the hum-drum A1 Sportback, but the rest of the R8’s gaping, ground-hugging front end screams ‘racing car for the road’.
It’s a similar story at the side, where this latest model retains the old car’s signature contrasting air intake trims, and at the back where a huge full-width mesh grille lets prying eyes get a glimpse of the Audi R8’s snake-like exhaust system.
Sadly, the R8’s drama levels get turned down to a modest six out of 10 as soon as you step inside. Nevertheless, it looks and feels lovely and everything’s super easy to use.
Even the digital driver’s display which the R8 shares with the Huracan looks a little less special in the Audi. The system’s graphics are hard to fault, though, and the steering-wheel-mounted controls make it much easier to use than the vertical touchscreen you get in a McLaren 570S.
The Audi R8 V10 Performance has a heavy metal soundtrack that makes all other supercars sound like they belong on the early rounds of The X-Factor
The Audi R8 is also easier to live with than the McLaren. For such a low, wide car it’s a doddle to drive – even if you spend lots of time around town – and its suspension is supple enough to protect your spine from all but the most monstrous potholes.
Head out onto faster backroads and the Audi R8 feels even more stable and soaks up ruts and undulations without breaking a sweat. Every model comes with a fast-shifting automatic gearbox and you can have a grippy quattro four-wheel-drive system which makes sure you always have ample grip, even on slippery road surfaces. As a result, the Audi R8 gives you the confidence to pin the accelerator and enjoy the full acoustic experience of its fabulous V10 engine.
Unlike almost every other supercar on sale, the Audi R8 uses a naturally aspirated engine, meaning it doesn’t rely on power-boosting turbochargers to produce 620hp (in Performance guise). As a result, it responds instantly when you floor the throttle and sounds absolutely wonderful while doing so.
Sure, it’s not particularly economical and in four-wheel-drive form, the R8 can’t carry quite as much luggage in its front-mounted boot as some rear-wheel-drive supercars, but none of this should put you off. The Audi R8 is seriously good fun to drive and the fact that it’s comfortable enough to use every day means you can enjoy the sound of its fabulous V10 at every opportunity.
The Audi R8 has a RRP range of £135,045 to £171,150. However, with carwow you can save on average £12,045. Prices start at £124,507 if paying cash. The price of a used Audi R8 on carwow starts at £99,803.
Our most popular versions of the Audi R8 are:
|Model version||carwow price from|
|5.2 FSI  V10 Performance 2dr S Tronic RWD||£124,507||Compare offers|
The Audi R8 Coupe is an alternative to ‘everyday’ supercars such as the Porsche 911 (from almost £90,000) and Mercedes-Benz-AMG GT over (£105,000) – they all offer amazing looks and performance, but without the frightening bills and (unwanted) attention-grabbing styling of a pure exotic like a Ferrari or Lamborghini.
While the Audi’s price tag might look expensive next to the Porsche and Mercedes, you could look at it as a cut-price Lamborghini Huracan (the cars are largely identical in terms of mechanicals), which starts from a cool £170,000.
In a world of hybridisation and turbocharging, the Audi R8 can engage you in a way newer supercars can’t, even if it lacks their ultimate punch and modern driving aids
Most people don’t buy a supercar for driving around town, but if you plan to show off your Audi R8 circling Chelsea High Street or you just live in the city, it’s good to know this sensible supercar can handle built-up areas surprisingly well.
The car’s Drive Select is a big help. Switch it into its Comfort setting and it lightens the steering, dulls the throttle response and tones down the exhaust note. The resulting light steering makes it easy to thread through traffic, the throttle isn’t jerky and you won’t be setting car alarms off with the scream of the charismatic V10 nestled in the engine bay behind you.
The optional adaptive dampers take this a step further by giving the R8 suspension comfort that’s at odds with its hard-riding supercar image. It’s even pretty good over speed humps.
Okay, so having the engine at the back isn’t great for rearward visibility but it’s not a major issue when you’re parking because the R8 has a reversing camera that beams a detailed picture onto the digital display behind the steering wheel. Parking sensors are also fitted front and rear, but the former isn’t needed because the R8's huge windscreen and low scuttle mean you get a great view out the front.
On the motorway
The R8 also feels completely at home on the motorway. Alright, so its engine is a little noisier than in some alternatives and it doesn’t have the lazy power delivery of turbocharged cars like the Porsche 911 and Mercedes AMG GT, but then it sounds better and is just as quick if you keep the throttle pinned.
One place the R8 shows its age is in its driving aids, which don’t stretch much further than cruise control that holds you at a preset speed – a bit of an omission when even a basic Toyota Yaris can accelerate, brake and steer itself on the motorway.
On a twisty road
Unsurprisingly, the Audi R8 Coupe shines the brightest on twisty roads.
Driving the R8 is a real sensory experience. Its V10 engine screams in a way the turbocharged Porsche 911 and Mercedes-AMG GT can’t match and its gear shifts are lightning quick. Keep all the driving aids on and the R8 is completely benign but you can loosen them in stages to let the car slide in corners or turn them off entirely for arching burnouts.
Even then, the R8’s four-wheel drive system acts as a safety net that you don’t get in rear-wheel-drive versions of the Porsche 911 and (rear-wheel-drive-only) Mercedes-AMG GT.
That said, if you want a rear-wheel-drive R8, you can have one – it’s called, fittingly, the RWD and it delivers a more natural driving experience than the standard four-wheel drive car thanks to purer steering and a handling balance that requires more driving skill to master.
It’s great on a dry summer day, but as a supercar to drive in the UK’s often wet and cold climate, the four-wheel drive quattro model makes more sense, more of the time, while still being loads of fun when the stars align and you get perfect road conditions.
The Audi R8 isn’t particularly practical but it’s pretty good for a supercar, although you’ll have to buy a Porsche 911 if you need back seats
One of the Audi R8’s biggest selling points is how user-friendly it is for a supercar.
Sure, it’s low to the ground, but its big doors give decent access and you don’t have to clamber over a huge sill as you do in some cars like this. Audi has also resisted the urge to strip its supercar of luxury features, so the seats are electrically adjustable and have a memory function so you can return to your driving position at the touch of a button. The seats are also heated and have lumbar adjustment.
While the standard seats already offer plenty of lateral support, you can swap them for a pair of racing buckets. They look cool and offer more support, but only their height adjustment is electrical and you also lose the standard passenger seat’s Isofix mounts for the safe fitting of a child seat.
In terms of interior storage, the door pockets are too slim for a bottle and the tray in front of the gear stick is too small for a big smartphone, but you do get a large glove box, two USB sockets and a 12V socket – pretty good for a supercar.
What’s not so good are the cupholders hidden under the front centre console. They’re too big to grip energy drinks, while large bottles clatter your elbow when driving.
Space in the back seats
The Audi R8 doesn’t have backseats, which leaves it at a disadvantage compared to a Porsche 911, which has room in the back for young kids.
The area behind the Audi’s front seats isn’t completely useless, you still get a shelf that’s a handy place to wedge soft bags that you couldn’t quite fit in the boot and there’s a net pocket on the bulkhead for smaller items.
The Audi R8 is mid-engined so its luggage space is under its bonnet like in a Porsche 911. The Audi’s boot is slightly less practical, however, with a 112-litre capacity – about half what you get in a Volkswagen Up city car – versus the Porsche’s 132 litres. The Audi’s boot isn’t as deep as the Porsche’s and its funny shape makes it difficult to make use of the space it does have.
The R8’s cabin feels lovely and has decent levels of tech, just be aware that top-quality audio only comes with more expensive models
The quality of the Audi R8’s interior feels exemplary with expensive plastics and a beautiful construction – it feels very well screwed together like it will be rattle-free 10 years down the line.
And it still looks fresh. You get neat features like ventilation knobs with built-in displays, and Audi’s trademark Virtual Cockpit behind the steering wheel means there’s no need for a centre display.
The R8 gets sporty features like carbon fibre (quattro) or aluminium-look plastic (RWD) trims, and stainless-steel pedals, plus you get LED interior lighting that’s bright-white light is more modern than the yellow filament bulbs you got in the old R8.
As ever, Audi’s Virtual Cockpit display shows style doesn’t need to come at the expense of function – it looks great, plus its multiple layouts and ability to punch up a huge sat nav map behind the steering wheel are very handy. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also fitted so you can use your phone’s apps on the car’s big screen.
Basic versions of the Audi R8 get a five-speaker, 140W stereo that’s okay, but the Bang & Olufsen system fitted to Edition models is a lot more like it. It has 13 speakers and a 550W output that has no difficulty filling the cabin with a tsunami of sound, plus its backlit ‘Bang & Olufsen’ emblems are a classy touch.
All Audi R8s come with a seven-speed twin-clutch automatic gearbox and a 5.2-litre V10 engine that sounds like it belongs in an F1 racer from the 00s, not a road car that’s currently on sale.
How much power you get depends on the model you go for. The V10 Performance RWD has 570PS, gets from 0-62mph in 3.7 seconds and keeps going until it hits a top speed of 204mph.
Performance is key, meaning fuel economy is almost a side issue in a car like this but for reference, you’ll not get much better than 20mpg in a mixture of driving… It might be worth upgrading the 73-litre fuel tank for the optional 83-litre version.
Road tax, meanwhile, sits in the highest band costing you £2,365 in year one.
Rather have the security of four-wheel drive? Then you’ll want the 620PS V10 Performance quattro; its extra traction means it accelerates faster than the bullet from a sniper rifle's barrel – it does 0-60mph in 3.1 seconds dead and hits 205mph flat out. Running costs are almost identical to the rear-wheel drive model.
The Audi R8 doesn’t sell in the numbers needed to warrant Euro NCAP safety testing and it does without features that are commonplace on average family cars such as automatic emergency braking and active cruise control. You do get traction control and a plethora of airbags, mind.
That being said, you’d expect the R8’s super-stiff construction to hold up well in a collision while its huge levels of grip and powerful brakes will reduce the chance of it being involved in an accident in the first place.
As you’d expect, the R8 comes fitted with a car alarm and is pre-wired to accept a tracker that’ll lead the police to its location if it’s nicked.
Data on the Audi R8’s reliability is scarce but as it uses proven Audi parts and a V10 engine that has been updated and improved since 2003, you can expect it to be durable for a supercar. You can also extend the standard three-year/60,000-mile warranty to a five-year/90,000-mile cover – almost unheard of in the supercar world.