Audi R8 Performance
For 2014, the R8 receives a host of performance upgrades, including a new dual clutch transmission and a lighter, more powerful performance-oriented V10 Plus model. As a whole, reviewers say the R8, with standard all-wheel drive, is comfortable to drive on a daily basis, yet equally capable on a track. Specifically, one critic notes that the R8 can be enjoyed by drivers of all skill levels.
- "Yet the R8 saves its best for real roads and the real world. Its generous performance envelope contains a love letter to drivers of all skill levels: ‘Hey, let's fool around,’ the R8 whispers. ‘I promise we won't get in trouble.’ Unlike some top-shelf sports cars, the R8 doesn't feel anxious in traffic, punish your vertebrae on long trips, or frustrate you with archaic, confusing switchgear." -- Automobile Magazine
- "Positioned below the R8 Plus, the regular V-10 performs nearly as well but does so in a more civilized manner-and in a more comfortable package." -- Car and Driver
- "For all its power and performance the 2014 Audi R8 remains surprisingly easy to drive, even on a racetrack." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "Driving the Plus back-to-back with the standard V10 on the street reconfirms that it's more visceral in every dimension - it's louder in the best way possible, it's quicker, and it handles more keenly. It's also more visceral in terms of ride quality - over the region's good-quality roads, we didn't mind its firmer comportment, but we're guessing that the less-flattering surfaces that pave America will erode some of the R8's legendary daily drivability." -- Autoblog
Acceleration and Power
The R8 is available with a 4.2-liter V8 that produces 430 horsepower and 316 pound-feet of torque (R8 V8), a 5.2-liter V10 with 525 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque (R8 V10) and a 5.2-liter V10 that produces 550 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque (R8 V10 Plus). All three engines can be coupled with either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual clutch transmission. The V8-powered R8 achieves up to 14/23 mpg city/highway with the dual clutch transmission, according to the EPA, which is somewhat low among luxury sports cars. Audi claims that the V8-powered R8 can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds and achieve a top speed of 186 mph with the dual clutch transmission. The V10 Plus model with the dual clutch transmission can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds with a top speed of 197 mph.
Test drivers are pleased with the V8 model’s power and acceleration, and enthralled with those of the V10 models, especially the V10 Plus model. Reviewers are equally impressed with the available dual clutch transmission, saying it shifts quickly and is a huge improvement over the outgoing six-speed automated manual transmission. Reviewers are also pleased that a six-speed manual transmission is available with every engine choice, and say that this gearbox enables deliberate, precise shifts.
- "All by its lonesome, S tronic chops 0.3 seconds from every automatic model's 0-60 mph time, one sign of how arthritic the old transmission was. The Plus especially spins the needle like a self-respecting supercar, at 3.5 seconds to 60 mph and a 197-mph terminus. Hard-core buyers won't be dissuaded from the terrific, metal-gated 6-speed manual, even if it takes a human-scale bite out of acceleration." -- Automobile Magazine
- "We are thrilled to report that you can still get the R8-and this includes every engine and body variation-with a six-speed manual transmission operated via a gated shifter. Internally called the ML600, the box is a marvel of precision and aesthetics." -- Car and Driver
- "The V8 is wonderful, but we are absolutely enamored with the prodigious power, brutal acceleration and raucous sound of the V10 engine in the Audi R8 5.2." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "Even without summoning launch control mode, the throttle response hits you in the back from a standstill like you've been thwacked with Zeus' bowling ball. Thanks, natural aspiration!" -- Autoblog
Handling and Braking
Reviewers say the all-wheel drive R8 handles generally very well. Some understeer, which is when the car turns less than directed by the driver, is noted by a few reviewers, but for the most part, these critics are OK with it, saying it is predictable. Otherwise, test drivers say the R8 is agile, athletic and composed through turns, but still fairly comfortable over imperfect roads. Reviewers are pleased with the amount of steering feel and feedback. Most also agree that the brakes offer ample stopping power. One publication recommends springing for the optional carbon ceramic brakes for their great stopping power.
- "But despite the midship layout and rear-biased weight distribution, the R8 is committed to benign understeer, determined to keep its owner out of the emergency room. Steering is robustly weighted and accurate, but its overall feel won't have anyone trading a Ferrari or Porsche 911 GT3." -- Automobile Magazine
- "Nevertheless, all R8 iterations are tossable, precise, and good-natured. Drifts out of corners can be easily induced, but if you enter clumsily, you could end up with noticeable understeer. The carbon-ceramic brakes, optional on the lesser versions, bite sharply and displayed no fading during our prolonged hard driving. They are recommended if you can swallow their significant price premium." -- Car and Driver
- "Supremely easy to control and predict on the limit, where mild understeer is expertly blended into controllable oversteer with the throttle. ... Steering remains informative and precise throughout this exercise." -- Edmunds
- "On the street, that race-ready persona translates to precise and thrilling but manageable handling, enhanced by surprisingly civilized ride quality...for a supercar." -- Kelley Blue Book