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Avg. Price Paid:$76,118 - $143,523
Original MSRP: $114,200 - $196,800
MPG: 13 City / 19 Hwy
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2012 Audi R8 Review

Review Last Updated: 10/9/13

These scores and this review are from when the car was new.

Reviewers love the 2012 Audi R8 for its aggressive styling and impressive performance, but unlike some other exotic sports cars, the R8 is also comfortable.

The 2012 Audi R8 continues to impress reviewers with its exotic sports car performance and comfortable ride. The R8’s combination of an adaptive suspension, which adjusts to road conditions and driving style, and road-gripping all-wheel drive make this Audi a competent performer, but auto writers say that those features also make it a sports car that you could use as a daily driver. Kelley Blue Book writes, "It's an incredibly capable performance machine, yet every bit as luxurious as it is sporting."

The R8 has three engines available for 2012, and while only 90 U.S. shoppers will be able to purchase the 560-horsepower R8 GT, reviewers say that the base 430-horsepower R8 4.2 is a competent performer and an excellent value in its class. The R8 5.2 is no slouch either with 525 horsepower on tap.

A six-speed manual or an optional six-speed automated manual transmission is available on the 4.2 and 5.2 trims, while the R8 GT gets the automated manual as standard equipment. Most reviewers prefer the standard manual transmission, saying that the automated manual can be a bit sluggish.

Inside, reviewers find the R8’s interior to be comfortable and precision-crafted with high-quality materials, but there are a few concerns. The first is the R8’s limited cargo space. At just 3.5 cubic feet, the R8’s trunk is tiny, even by exotic sports car standards. Don’t expect to pack the R8 for a weekend trip. Second, many test drivers dislike Audi’s Multi Media Interface. Some reviewers say that it’s confusing because it absorbs too many entertainment and navigation functions.

However, the automotive press agrees that if you can live with these quirks, the 2012 Audi R8 offers performance, comfort and style at a price that undercuts many of its exotic sports car rivals.

Other Cars to Consider

Starting at about $114,000, the Audi R8 costs considerably less than many exotic sports cars. However, there are similarly priced sports cars that match the R8’s performance.

Starting at $137,500, the Porsche 911 Turbo splits the price difference between the R8 4.2 and 5.2, but exceeds both when it comes to acceleration. Its twin-turbocharged flat-six produces 500 horsepower, and like the R8, the 911 Turbo’s standard all-wheel drive provides impressive grip. Porsche says that the 911 Turbo will sprint from zero to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds with the six-speed manual or 3.4 seconds with the automatic Porsche Doppelkupplung transmission. That’s at least a half second quicker than the $149,000 R8 5.2 and a full second faster than the R8 4.2.

If you like the brisk acceleration of both the 911 Turbo and the R8 5.2, but want to spend less, don’t overlook the Corvette ZR-1. At $110,300, the ZR-1 costs nearly $4,000 less than the R8 4.2, but that doesn’t mean the ZR-1 is short on power. With its 638-horsepower, supercharged 6.2-liter V8 and six-speed manual transmission, Chevrolet says that the ZR-1 rockets from zero to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds, which is just as quick as the 911 Turbo with the automatic transmission. However, the ZR-1 has rear-wheel drive. If you’re looking for a performance car with all-wheel drive grip, you might prefer the Audi or the Porsche.

Audi R8: The Details 

The 2012 Audi R8 comes in either coupe or Spyder (convertible) body styles, and is available in three different trims that differ based on their performance capabilities. The R8 4.2 comes with a 4.2-liter, 430-horsepower V8 engine and a six-speed manual transmission. A six-speed automated manual transmission is optional. The R8 4.2 coupe starts at roughly $114,000, while pricing on the 4.2 Spyder begins slightly less than $128,000. Standard equipment on the 4.2 includes heated, 10-way power-adjustable seats, Bluetooth and a seven-speaker stereo with an auxiliary input jack, satellite radio and a six-disc CD changer. Options on the R8 4.2 include navigation, an iPod connection, 12-speaker Bang and Olufsen stereo and Audi’s Convenience Package, which adds features such as a backup camera and front and rear parking sensors.

If you want more power, opting for the R8 5.2 will get you a 5.2-liter, 525-horsepower V10, as well as additional standard features that include LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors with backup camera, navigation and a 12-speaker Bang and Olufsen stereo with an iPod connection. The R8 5.2 coupe starts at $149,000, while the 5.2 Spyder rings up at less than $163,000.

New for 2012 is the limited-production Audi R8 GT, which starts at almost $197,000. The R8 GT weighs in at 180 pound less than the R8 5.2 and features a 560-horsepower, 5.2-liter V10 engine, six-speed automated manual transmission and sport-tuned coil-over suspension. Audi says in a press release that the R8 GT has a top speed of 199 mph and will sprint from zero to 62 mph (100 km) in just 3.6 seconds. Only 333 R8 GTs will be made, and only 90 of those will be sold in the U.S.

  • "Overall, the R8 is an impressive supercar achievement and a great drive. Our pick is the smooth, yet extremely powerful V8. The V10 is faster, but we don't think the gains justify its steeper pricing." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "The navigation system is awkward to use and the optional R tronic automated manual transmission shifts clumsily at low speed. But if you can live with all that, you'll find that the Audi R8 won't be as good as you imagined -- it'll be even better." -- Edmunds 
  • "It was only a few years ago that Audi rolled out the regular R8 with its spaceship-like exterior, incredible handling and leather-encased interior. It is still one of the few supercars that feels like a deal at just a little over $100,000." -- Cars.com 

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