NEW FOR 2009:

– New 5.2-litre V10 model
– Optional carbon side blade, carbon interior trim, carbon engine compartment, and new 19-inch, five-arm double-spoke wheels

An all-new model for 2008, the Audi R8 expands for 2009 with the addition of a V10-powered model.

Two engines are now available: a 4.2-litre V8, and 5.2-litre V10, both with six-speed manual transmission or optional six-speed "R tronic" sequential automatic with wheel-mounted paddle shifters, and rear-biased Quattro all-wheel drive. The V8 is capable of zero to 100 km/h in 4.6 seconds, while the new V10 will shave that down to 3.9; top speeds are 301 km/h for the V8, and 316 km/h for the V10.

Features on the 4.2 include 19-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, adaptive suspension, eight-piston front and four-piston rear calipers, speed-sensitive electromechanical steering, bi-xenon headlamps, LED running lights, heated mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, ten-way heated leather and Alcantara seats, leather-wrapped tilt and telescopic wheel, floor mats, keyless entry, auto up/down windows, knee airbags, auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass, driver information centre, cruise control, six-CD/MP3 stereo, Sirius satellite radio, tire pressure monitoring system, and anti-theft alarm system.

The 5.2 adds Nappa leather seats, aluminum-look grille struts, flared side blades, oval tailpipes, sill extensions, high-gloss diffuser, rear air outlets and fins, and aluminum-look rear window air outlets.

Available options include side blade colours, full leather interior package, rearview camera, navigation system, winter wheels, and Bang & Olufsen sound system.

Impressively fast, with correspondingly sharp handling, the R8 lives up to the promise of its price, offering supercar performance but with a surprisingly roomy cockpit and even space for a small amount of luggage. The V10, of course, just makes everything better. Its slinky shape is unmistakable, especially with the trademark side blade, and its low production numbers mean the exclusivity that’s part of the allure.

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