Vehicle Type: Performance Coupe / Convertible
History Description: When Audi’s mid-engine R8 performance car hit the road in 2009, it was pasted, in poster form, onto the bedroom walls of car buffs around the globe, while simultaneously earning a reputation for being an extreme performance machine with incredible driving dynamics and everyday usability.
This first-generation R8, which spanned model years 2010 to 2014 inclusive, was easy to drive. Had a decent trunk. Was tall-person friendly. Had a surprisingly comfortable drive. Could be used in winter. The list goes on; and for pricing similar to a hot Porsche 911, the R8 packed looks that’d attract a crowd of drooling teenagers faster than an overpopulated PokéStop.
Feature content included navigation, a Bang and Olufsen stereo system, Bluetooth, MMI Interface, driver computer, navigation, heated leather, automatic climate control, LED headlights, and plenty more. A back-up camera with distance sensors was available, too. All models are two-seaters with a trunk in the front, and a V8 or V10 engine in the middle.
Engines / Trim: In the used market, R8 4.2 indicates a model with the V8 engine, which should be sufficient for most drivers in terms of performance thrills. The 4.2L high-revving V8 spins up 420 hp, redlines at 8,000 rpm, and sounds pure exotic hot-rod. The R8 5.2 gets a 5.2L V10, pushes power output up to 520, revs higher, and is explosively fast.
If ‘R-Tronic’ shows up in the seller’s description, it indicates that the model has the ‘automatic’ transmission. A convertible or ‘Spyder’ model was available with either engine. Note that special models, like the R8 GT and R8 V10 Plus boasted unique feature content and boosted power output.
What Owners Like: Owners love the exclusivity, style, performance and bragging rights that come as part of the R8 experience. Relative ease of entry and exit, and an everyday-comfortable ride are noted. Some owners note that highway cruising fuel mileage is surprisingly thrifty, too. Finally, many owners report that the customization process, and various unique styling and feature content options, helped deliver added exclusivity.
What Owners Dislike: Limited cargo storage and a sometimes-fussy MMI interface are among the most common owner complaints. Rearward visibility can be challenging without the back-up camera system.
Here’s a look at some Audi R8 Owner Reviews.
The Test Drive: Start your visit with a used R8 candidate by inspecting the vehicle’s tires and brakes. Ensure the seller isn’t passing off a set of rubber or brake pads and rotors that are in need of replacement. Unevenly worn tires can indicate a larger problem with alignment, and grooves in the brake rotor surface are another trouble sign that a brake job is in the vehicle’s immediate future.
Approach any used R8 assuming that the seller is trying to pass off the replacement cost of tires and brakes onto you, until you, or a mechanic at an Audi dealer confirms otherwise. Given the complicated and low-volume nature of the R8, a pre-purchase inspection is best carried out at an Audi dealer, and should be considered mandatory.
The new generation: 2017 Audi R8 First Drive
Check all interior electronics twice – paying special attention to the MMI system and ensuring it activates, boots up and manipulates various functions properly. Confirm that the controller knob reacts to all inputs, and that all buttons do the same. Sometimes, issues can be fixed with a hard reset (cheap), and other times, they require MMI system replacement (not cheap).
Shift the manual transmission quickly, ensuring the clutch ‘bites’ hard, and works without slippage. Some owners report electronic dialing-back of engine power when shifting quickly if the clutch is slipping, which is intended to increase the lifespan of the clutch. As the R8 has a high likelihood of aggressive driving in its past, be on the lookout for signs of excessive clutch wear, noting that a slipping clutch typically emits a gunpowder-like smell when full throttle is applied in a low gear.