auto1.jpg (11036 bytes)


2008 Audi R8

About Us
Automotive Events
ClassicDrives.jpg (2693 bytes)

FamilyCoupes.jpg (2674 bytes)

funcars.jpg (1915 bytes)
Hot Rods

LuxuryCoupes.jpg (2773 bytes)

luxurycars.jpg (2326 bytes)
FamilySedans.jpg (2781 bytes)
stationwagons.jpg (2856 bytes)

suvcompact.jpg (2696 bytes)

suvstandard.jpg (2688 bytes)


SUPERCAR REVIEW:  Normally when you drive a car you truly love, it's like hot chocolate. It warms your soul, and you want to come back for more. This car, the Audi R8, is nothing like that. It's not hot chocolate at all. This car is like crack cocaine.

I love the R8 sure enough, but it terrifies me. It's so powerful, so beautiful, so thrilling, that simply stepping near it makes my pulse quicken and my blood pressure rise. I only drove it for a few days, but I'm pretty sure it reduced my lifespan by at least a year or two.

No, the R8 doesn't warm your soul. It grabs your soul around the neck and gives it a 420-horsepower beating until your soul's spleen is ruptured. Then it forces your soul to come back for more. Just like crack.

THE BASICS: The R8 follows a simple formula: extremely light weight plus extremely high horsepower equals extreme performance.

More specifically, it's a very expensive, two-seat German supercar with a huge V8 engine mounted directly behind the driver's back and a body made from Tupperware and Reynolds aluminum foil. It's stunningly beautiful. And it can go nearly 190 mph.

Power comes from a 4.2-liter engine that's mounted just in front of the rear axle. The mid-engine design allows for excellent weight distribution and better handling when the tires start to lose traction, which doesn't happen easily because it has Audi's famous all-wheel drive system and tires as wide as Tennessee.

It also has the best suspension system I've ever driven. Not only does it perform amazingly well through corners, with the kind of grace and predictability most cars can only dream of, but it also has a magic switch that changes the suspension from Racetrack worthy to Cadillac worthy.

I'm not exaggerating. It's an enormous difference when you're floating on glass one second, then flip the switch and -- WHAM! -- You can suddenly feel every particle of dust between your tires and the asphalt.

It's clear Audi wanted this to be a comfortable car for everyday driving, and not just because of the magnetic suspension that can feel like Grandma's car. It's also much roomier than many comparable supercars, with enough head and shoulder room for the Jolly Green Giant.

The cockpit in the R8 is simple and totally focused on the driver, as it should be in such a high-performance machine. Plus the R8 is largely hand-assembled, using the same platform as the Lamborghini Gallardo, so it's extremely exclusive.

OK, so how much does it cost? Well, the base price is $109,000, and the one I drove cost around $130,000, thanks to the upgraded leather package and the world's worst transmission, but more on that later.

That may sound like a lot of money, and indeed it is, but when you consider the Ferrari’s and Lamborghini’s it compares with cost closer to $200,000, that $109,000 price tag suddenly starts to look like a bargain.

THE STYLE: No other car looks anything like the R8. Its body would fit better on the set of "Deep Space Nine" than on a roadway, so not surprisingly, this growling spaceship gets plenty of stares.

For the most part, the styling is dominated by the school of "form follows function." Giant air intakes feed the monster engine, and the overall shape is designed for high-speed stability. It's one of the few street-legal cars that actually generates downforce as it picks up speed, meaning the shape is designed to suck it onto the road like an upside-down airplane wing.

The R8 also has some completely arbitrary styling features that make it one of the most original and memorable cars ever built.

The most important visual element is what Audi calls the "sideblades."

These blades, and with the low-slung shape, make the Audi R8 one of the most original and recognizable cars ever built.

The sideblades are really giant air intakes that feed clean air into the engine, and you can have them painted a contrasting color that stands out from the body paint. I love them for three reasons: One, they emphasize the engine's position in the middle of the car. Two, they make the R8 look shorter. And three, no other car has them. They're absolutely brilliant.

Another strange visual feature is the R8's pixie eyelashes. A row of LEDs lines each headlight to give the car some personality, almost like the Audi is wearing mascara. I love it.

But the best feature, hands down, is the window that exposes the massive engine in back. It's a frame for this piece of aluminum modern art, showing off the heart of the R8.

Some people may not like this car's unusual styling, but even its detractors have to admit one thing: the Audi R8 forces you to look at it.

THE DOWNSIDES: Any time you drive an exotic car, it gets lots of attention. That can be a good thing if you need an ego boost, but it's also a major drawback.

You can't go anywhere without complete strangers suddenly turning into Morley Safer, grilling you about every detail of the car. And you can't park it and leave it without worrying that someone will either scratch it, dent it, or try to steal it.

Even worse, if you don't want to get a manual transmission, your only other choice is a $9,000 piece of garbage Audi calls the R tronic.

My test car was fitted with the R tronic, and honestly, I would have paid Audi another $9,000 to beat it with a baseball bat until it was dead.

It's essentially a robotic manual transmission that doesn't use a clutch pedal. It can do shifts faster than are humanly possible with a regular transmission, but at low speeds it shifts like it's being controlled by a 15-year-old kid driving a manual transmission Rambler, for the first time. It's jerky, unpredictable and extremely unpleasant.

When you drive more aggressively, accelerating quickly from each stop, the transmission isn't so bad. But if you expect it to do smooth Grandma shifts to match the smooth Grandma suspension, you're out of luck.

The problem even contributed to me getting pulled over by a small-town cop for accelerating the spaceship too quickly. I tried to explain that the R8 is extremely difficult to drive slowly because of the transmission, which is the honest-to-goodness truth, but I'm not sure he believed me.

THE VERDICT: Assuming you stay away from Audi's R tronic trans, it's hard to find anything whatsoever to fault with this car. After driving this remarkable machine, every other car suddenly feels like a horse and buggy.

Its body makes you salivate. Its suspension is magical, its performance is otherworldly, and the engine sounds like God rolling a timpani.

What was tested? The 2008 Audi R8 Quattro R tronic with a base price of $118,000. Options on the test car include: paint upgrade - $650, enhanced leather package - $5,500, premium package - $3,500, navigation system - $2,000. Total MSRP price as tested, including the $2,100 gas guzzler tax and a $995 destination charge: $132,745.

Why avoid it? The R tronic transmission is weird, plus it turns everyone with a camera phone into a paparazzi.

Why buy it? It's an exotic car you can drive every day. It combines jaw-dropping performance with surprising comfort at a price that's impressive, considering its Lamborghini DNA.

In fact the only problem I really had with it was the serious, stomach-turning withdrawal pains when they took it away.

By Derek Price © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

Byline: SuperCar Review provided by Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net

Audi Home Page

Column Name:  The Stunning, Exotic Audi R8 is a real Supercar

Topic: The 2008 Audi R8

Word Count:  1,328

Photo Caption:  The 2008 Audi R8

Photo Credits:  Audi R8 Internet Media

Series #:  2008 - 29

Download the Microsoft Word version here:   2008 Audi R8

Download the Original Image File here:   2008 Audi R8








Publisher - Editor:   Tony Leopardo
Division Name:   AutoWire.Net
Company Name:    Leopard Publishing Co.
Postal Address:    P.O. Box 1011
City, State, Zip:    San Mateo, California 94403
Phone Number:    650-340-8669
Fax Number:    650-340-9473

Join the AutoWire.Net Directory, send your Name, Affiliation & E-mail address to: AutoWire

Send Comments & Questions to: AutoWire

For Additional Photos, go direct to: Wieck Photo
©2008 - AutoWire.Net - All Rights Reserved Web Editor -  Tony Leopardo