2014 Audi R8 V10 Plus
2014 Audi R8 V10 Plus. Click image to enlarge

Review by Jonathan Yarkony, photos by Mark Farmer and Jonathan Yarkony

I finally got a speeding ticket. It was the R8’s fault. I mean, look at this thing!

Now, most of the time, I don’t exactly observe the speed limit to the letter (or number, I guess), but I drive with the flow of traffic and rarely do anything out of the ordinary to attract the attention of law enforcement, even when going through speed traps.

But look at this thing, again. The heat score is simply off the charts. The ticket wasn’t even enough to earn me points, so I was either a victim of a quota day or the bright red paint job on a spectacular supercar was just too much to resist. Even standing still it looks illegal.

Frankly, I thought I was being spectacularly cautious considering the 2014 Audi R8 V10 Plus (Seriously? This car needs a Plus model?) is easily capable of hitting triple the posted speeds (as was proven by James Bergeron and Peter Bleakney on their recent romp on Germany’s unrestricted Autobahn). The self-restraint I did display means I keep my license and pay a small fine.

2014 Audi R8 V10 Plus
2014 Audi R8 V10 Plus
2014 Audi R8 V10 Plus. Click image to enlarge

This car requires a vigilant eye and quick reflexes to get off the gas before hitting illegal speeds, or deep pockets to cover all the trouble it will bring on top of the price of entry, the insurance, the valet parking, and the detailing to constantly get onlookers’ drool washed off. One hundred km/h arrives in 3.5 seconds per Audi specs, and my sphincter-o-meter confirmed that. Launch mode is an option to nail it every time, but really, Sport mode and plant your foot and you’re easily going to be at 100 in less than four seconds without any complicated procedures.

Frankly, I still can’t believe anyone would hand me the keys to a machine like this. However, barring this being the longest dream ever, I think I’m going to start operating under the assumption that this is, indeed, reality. Or something like that. Whatever it is, I’ll take it.

So, back to the Audi R8 V10 Plus.

What Audi has done is essentially take the unholy hell of a Lamborghini V10 and stuffed it into the R8’s lightweight aluminum mid-engine chassis. Yeah, ridiculous.

Never have I felt more like a Star Trek effect showing the Enterprise catapulting into light speed: Sitting at a red light, waiting. Light turns green, mat the throttle. Vision blurs, lights streak by, stars distort, gravity seems to multiply, but on another axis. Look in the rear-view mirror, and traffic is merely a row of star-like pin-pricks of headlights in the distant past. Power builds in every gear in a linear and addictive rush.

But when you see a turn coming up, resist the temptation to slow down. Just turn. The low centre of gravity (it must be somewhere around my ankles, I swear), sticky tires (Pirelli PZeros, 235/35R19 in front and 305/30R19 in back) and sophisticated all-wheel-drive system all engaged and needing at the very least cold rain or snow to break traction at any speeds I was willing to tempt on public roads. I saw very little of either in the weeks I had it.

2014 Audi R8 V10 Plus2014 Audi R8 V10 Plus2014 Audi R8 V10 Plus
2014 Audi R8 V10 Plus. Click image to enlarge

However, part of that stupendous grip comes from a suspension that is unforgiving – the V10 Plus ditches the Audi Magnetic ride in favour of a “Sport Tuned Suspension”. This has got to be one of the hardest suspensions I’ve encountered. I loved it. No compromises, the front and rear both aluminum double wishbones set to immovable, so every crack in the pavement sends a ripple through the cabin and every bump pretty much launches the whole car for a brief buck. But it is so worth it for the way it stays flat in the corners – having never driven a race car, I’ve never before experienced such cornering attitude. And while the ride is rough, the interior is superb, quilted leather, carbon fibre and aluminum everywhere in just the right amounts, and seats that ensconce and support you for aggressive driving – they did wear my back out after a few hours hunting for and driving some of Ontario’s finest roads.

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