There’s driving, and then there’s driving a car that thinks it’s a racer. Thing is, the 2021 Audi R8 has the credentials to back that up, born from an unmistakably noble family of champions and given the same name as a Le Mans winning sports car.
We recently spent a decent amount of time with the new Audi R8 and what follows is our list of 5 reasons why you need it in your garage. Pandemic or not.
Guaranteed no supercar sweats
I can explain what supercar sweats are. You’ve probably heard the automotive press expound exponentially on the concept of ‘range anxiety’ as it applies to electric cars, but what of the ‘supercar sweats?’ You know, that feeling that descends on almost every exotic owner when called upon to park, navigate traffic, or go on a drive that lasts longer than a quick jaunt to the local show ‘n shine?
After all, asphalt-scraping, bone-jarring suspension setups, blind spots the size of a refrigerator, and the constant danger of reckless drivers zooming from two lanes over to snap a photo while hanging inches off the bumper are hazards anyone who elects to daily drive their six-figure sports car regularly face.
But not in the 2021 Audi R8. This is perhaps the friendliest 331 km/h coupe on the planet.
You can call it a baby Huracán
Underneath its Teutonic skin of the 2021 Audi R8 rides the same platform used by its Italian sibling, the Lamborghini Huracán, a car that is similarly easy-to-drive although not nearly as worry-free as the Audi for a number of reasons (in particular its ditch-digging chin and less-ergonomic cockpit and sight lines).
This all-wheel drive, ten-cylinder teardrop of aluminium and steel manages to circumvent standard supercar stress by applying a thick veneer of civility over top of its nimble, apex-predator bones.
Power to brag about
Lurking under the two-seat coupe’s expansive rear deck is a 5.2-liter V10 engine that pushes out 449 kW of power and 560 Nm of torque, a motor that can count the brand’s successful GT3 race car program as part of its development lineage. Matched with a standard seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission, the net effect is startling acceleration and a seemingly limitless top end.
The R8’s Drive Select system also let me dial its magnetically-adjustable suspension system from Comfort to Auto to Dynamic anytime I pleased, but I found myself living almost exclusively in the stiffer, louder world of Dynamic, which also held each gear longer and amped up both exhaust volume and the explosiveness of each gear shift.
100 km/h comes in quick-quick
With all four wheels scrambling for traction in a straight-line thrust the R8 launches to 100 km/h in just 3.1 seconds. The carbon ceramic brakes were surprisingly easy to modulate, which is not always the case when mashing these hardcore binders in a street setting.
Nonetheless, the Audi R8 Coupe proves itself to be just as adept at handling the curves as it is blowing the hands off of your elegantly-crafted pocket stopwatch. I was fortunate enough to sample the Coupe’s chassis tune through parts of the Golden Gate Mountains, flying low over freshly-tarred sections of the Golden Route with a frenetic grace typically reserved for park rangers.
All the while, the V10’s sonorous exhortations rang out immediately behind my head, adding extra tang to an already visceral top-down experience.
Its great for long journeys too
Still, as relentlessly quick and competent as the 20121 Audi R8 Coupe was during our time together, it was the fact that I was able to live with the car on an extended rural road trip that impressed me more than almost anything else.
With hundreds of kilometres of driving on the odometer, split fairly evenly between open interstate and sinuous secondary roads, I never left the driver’s seat feeling as though I’d just gone 10 rounds as a sparring dummy. Seats were both receptive to my long torso and heated to take some of the night time chill out of the cabin, and once you get used to the all-in-one-place display offered by Audi’s Virtual Cockpit gauge cluster it quickly becomes second nature to keep tabs on navigation, entertainment, and mobile device settings.
Finally, Audi’s engineering team got the R8’s ride height exactly right, as I never had any uncomfortable encounters with speed bumps, driveway angles, or protruding curbs.
In closing, its worth noting that the Audi R8 Coupe is able to offer exotic-level everything combined with the daily affability of an S5 cabriolet is an achievement few, if any, of its peers can claim.
The R8 Coupe is priced from R3 336 000.
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