2010 Audi R8 5.2 V10
2010 Audi R8 5.2 V10. Click image to enlarge

Manufacturer’s web site
Audi Canada

Join Autos’s Facebook group
Follow Autos on Twitter

Review and photos by Paul Williams

Find this vehicle in Autos’s Classified Ads

Photo Gallery:
2010 Audi R8 5.2 V10

When you see an Audi R8 driving down the road — and enough has been written about the R8 that hyperbole is a real risk here – it’s like encountering a naked person of fine physical attributes out for a stroll. You look, you look away, you look again, only more closely; maybe you fantasize, but above all, you definitely respond.

Is there anyone who can really say they didn’t notice the R8 that just drove by? I don’t think so. And frankly, if you’re fortunate enough to drive one, the last thing that comes to mind is that it needs more power.

Then again…

If 420-horsepower from the R8 V8’s engine is wonderful, then 525 hp from a V10 version should be sublime. This is what you get from the new-for-2010, $173,000 R8 5.2 V10, among other important attributes.

2010 Audi R8 5.2 V10
2010 Audi R8 5.2 V10
2010 Audi R8 5.2 V10. Click image to enlarge

Those attributes include the fabulous looks, of course, but they also include the ability to operate competitively at extreme levels of performance, which the R8 will happily do with the right driver behind the wheel.

Visual differences between the R8 4.2 V8 and R8 5.2 V10 are mostly subtle. Look for high-gloss black air inlet grilles, spoiler lip and air outlet grilles at the rear. The single frame grille is also gloss black with vertical and horizontal chrome slats, and the sideblades and rocker panels are flared. The rear diffuser is larger than the V8 car, but you probably won’t notice that as much as the large oval exhaust pipes. The most obvious cue is the set of model-specific 19-inch Y-spoke wheels.

The mid-mounted V10 engine is also used in Audi’s R8 LMS GT3-conforming racecar, introduced in 2009. It makes 525 hp at 8,000 rpm (maximum rpm, however, is 8,700) and 391 pound-feet of torque at 6,500 rpm, propelling the car from 0-100 km/h in 3.9 seconds to a top speed of 320 km/h (give or take a few tenths…). You have a choice of two transmissions; the standard being a six-speed gated manual, while the automatic — although it’s not your everyday automatic — is the six-speed R tronic, which you can select for an extra $9,000.

2010 Audi R8 5.2 V10
2010 Audi R8 5.2 V10
2010 Audi R8 5.2 V10. Click image to enlarge

All that power is put to the road on 235/35 front tires and 295/30-series rear tires through Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive, which for the R8 V10 has an 85-percent rear bias. There is also a set of 19-inch double-spoke titanium-look wheels available that you can order instead of the Y-spokes for a comparatively trifling $500.

Navigation, Bang and Olufsen audio, rear camera, heated leather seats, comprehensive power group and full LED lighting system (including headlights) are standard equipment, with the option list mainly consisting of trim and colour selections. Other than that, you are good to go (but pack light…).

The first thing you notice when you’re about to fire up the V10 engine is that you’re inserting a rather nondescript key into a standard column-mounted ignition No smart key; no push-button start. Seems kind of low-rent.

The second thing you notice, after firing up said V10 engine and forgetting about the key, is that there’s no V8 rumble. The V10, in comparison, is rather quiet at idle and refined under mild acceleration. While you’re enjoying the turbine-like performance of ten cylinders in mechanical synchronicity, and the fat torque generated therefrom, you also notice that the cabin is reasonably spacious, that there are cup/bottle holders in the centre console that function as North Americans expect them to, that the ride is actually pleasant, and that everyone is looking at you.

Well, not you specifically. They’re looking at the car. Then they look at you to see what kind of person drives such a striking vehicle. Even in California they do this, so it’s not like they’ve never seen fancy wheels.

Pages: 1 2 All

Connect with Autos.ca