Avoid any model that’s been given extensive ‘upgrades’ beyond intake and exhaust work – as modified engine electronics or internals may adversely affect reliability in the short and long term. If the model your considering has aftermarket wheels, be sure they’re properly fitted, and of high-quality. Each wheel and tire should be inspected carefully, on both inner and outer surfaces, for signs of cracks, damage or other issues.
If equipped, engage the back-up camera and parking assist systems, several times, on the course of your test drive. Ensure both work as expected, and note the resolution and response time of the back-up camera engagement. Though relatively inconclusive, issues relating to the back-up sensors and reverse camera could be caused by faulty wiring, a bad module, or a bad ground that’s corroded or come loose. Note that a garbled back-up camera display image is another trouble sign.
Here’s a discussion in an Audi R8 Owners Forum where some existing owners lend a shopper some advice before he purchases a used R8. The gist? Checking for signs of shock-absorber leaks and poor general condition, especially with the available magnetic dampers, seems to be a mandatory pre-purchase check, given the potential for issues and pricey repair costs. The owners also stress the importance of a pre-purchase inspection, and especially, one that runs the air conditioner through its paces, as it can be pricey to repair associated components.
Here’s a great car to get an accident report on, as well as checking thoroughly for signs of damage and poor accident repair work. And, accident report or not, check the lower edge of the front bumper, and its underside, for signs of damage caused by bottoming out over curbs and speed-bumps, which could indicate careless driving.
Here’s another discussion which advises used R8 shoppers to check for aluminum corrosion (the aluminum version of rust) on the R8’s body panel edges, including the door edges, door sills, and hood edge.
And finally, another discussion where numerous owners encourage a potential R8 shopper to ‘go for it’, citing excellent drivability and reliable operation.
A final note: if you’re considering an R8, be sure to budget for a few extras. First? A trickle charger, for the battery, for when you’ll park the R8 for extended periods. Keeping the battery fully charged can help prevent frustrating electronics issues down the line. Second? A quality car cover, to keep your R8 protected from dust, dirt and scrapes if it’s going to spend the winter in your garage. Third? A full fluid change and tune-up, if service records are unclear. And fourth, some owners say that since the R8’s engine bay is an extra-hot place, many have had any rubber components (belts, ignition wires, hoses) changed preemptively to avoid problems, especially on higher-mileage units.
Finally, many owners recommend keeping some money aside in case the R8 you’re considering does require repair or replacement to a pricey part or component. Parts and labor to repair and maintain an R8 are not inexpensive.
The Verdict: If you find a good deal on a model you like, and can afford it while sparing extra funds for a quality tune-up, fluid change, trickle-charger and repair contingency fund, you’re likely on your way to enjoying one of the world’s most popular and easy-to-drive performance cars. A Certified Pre-Owned model, with any extended warranty available, is your safest bet.
Here’s a single recall.
Crash Test Results