BySpencer Hart 2017-12-20T01:00:15.353Z
Ever since its introduction in 2007, the Audi R8 has been called the ultimate everyday supercar, capable of some astonishing figures whilst also being easy to drive, and comfortable.
Well, Audi recently handed me the keys to a V10 Plus Spyder (in a rather fetching Monterey Green) for an entire week, so I could see what it’s really like to live with.
The German marque’s supercar is now on its second generation, it’s faster, lighter and more dynamic than its predecessor.
I didn’t see the R8 coming, I heard it coming. The V10 announced its arrival with a sonorous growl. To say I was excited was an understatement.
After a quick handover the Audi was mine, so where’s the first place you take it? To Tesco of course!
The R8 Spyder is really two cars – in Comfort mode and Dynamic mode it behaves completely different.
Pop it into Comfort and the car is unbelievable cosseting. It soaks up pot holes and bumps in the road better than most family cars.
Select Sport and (if you’re lucky) the gearbox will drop down a gear, producing a menacing gunt from the exhaust, and the ride will noticeably stiffen up. Suddenly you’re sitting inside a rocketship just waiting to take off.
This is thanks to the ‘Audi Magnetic Ride’, which really does a great job at changing the character of the car.
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So, of course, on my short trip to Tesco I spent most of the time in Sport mode, flooring the throttle at every given opportunity. This aggressively kicks down the gears until it finds peak torque, at which point it’ll launch your towards to horizon at worrying speed.
How fast exactly? You’ll be going 62mph in 3.3 seconds, and touch 90 mph before you realise it.
The V10 is a wondrous thing. It’s dramatic, and sounds absolutely, unashamedly stupendous. It never got old, even after a week of driving and covering many, many miles.
Model: Audi R8 V10 Plus Spyder
Price: From £144,335
0-62mph: 3.3 seconds
Top speed: 204mph
Fuel economy: 22.6mpg
Emissions: 292g/km CO2
The seven-speed S tronic is lighting-fast. When in Auto, the gearbox is also affected by the Comfort and Dynamic setting. With smooth, unnoticeable changes in Comfort, and more aggressive changes in Dynamic, holding low gears for longer when accelerating.
What’s also impressive is how safe and secure the quattro drive system feels. With three driving programs: dry, wet and snow, the R8 manages to find grip on all road conditions.
This was best seen on a rainy motorway slog to the Lake District.
The R8 inspires confidence every step of the way, making it one of the easiest mid-engined supercars to drive.
So what’s it like once you get to Tesco?
Parking the R8 isn’t too bad. It has plenty of sensors that beep if you reverse too close to something, and a rear view camera (that appears on the screen behind the steering wheel) to guide you into a spot.
Once you have navigated into a space and completed your shop, you return to your car hoping that no one has parked next to you. The R8 is a wide car, and the doors a very long, so getting in and out can be tricky in tight parking spots.
There’s enough space for a weekly shop for two people (four people might be a stretch), with 112 litres of load space under the bonnet.
Now time for a longer trip, slightly further afield.
With the Audi R8 fully loaded up with weekend bags, I set off for a 250 mile trip to the Lake District.
Initially starting off in Dynamic mode, shooting through villages, towns and b-roads. Then I arrived onto the M40 with around four hours of driving in front of me.
Into Comfort mode I go, with the soft dampers, quieter engine sound, and a less responsive throttle.
The first three hours go by without a hitch, with absolutely no complaints in the comfort department. The cabin is quiet, with minimal wind and tyre noise.
But, as I get closer to Ullswater, I start to lose all feeling in my arse. This resulted in a stop at service station so I could stretch my legs and fill up.
Here’s a picture of the Audi R8 in its natural habitat:
While we’re here let’s talk about fuel economy. The R8 almost bankrupt me.
Even though the R8 includes a new freewheeling mode, in which the car coasts when the engine is disengaged, as well as a cylinder on demand (COD) system, which deactivates one cylinder bank entirely at low load, and a Stop/Start system, the fuel economy isn’t great.
The R8 officially returns 22.6mpg, but we saw around 19mpg.
Of course, that’s around what you’d expect for a car like this, and, if you can afford the car, you can afford the petrol to go inside it as well.
Just expect to spend plenty of time a petrol stations.
Back on the road for the final stretch of my journey.
The seats are little on the firm side, and the seating position isn’t perfect for someone over 6ft, so it can start to get uncomfortable on journeys longer than two hours.
But regardless, this car is equally at home tearing along the motorway as it is blasting down b-roads. At the end of the journey we were left impressed by the R8’s motorway performance.
The R8’s interior really is a splendid place to while away the hours. Not only is it designed and finished beautifully, it also features the marque’s excellent Virtual Cockpit.
The sporty leather steering wheel serves as the control center, with controls for dynamics, telephone, navigation, media and the voice control system.
There’s also a large red button that starts and stops the engine, making it feel like a race car everytime you climb in.
Behind the steering wheel is a large 12.3-inch display, the Audi virtual cockpit, which presents all the information you could need with sexy 3D graphics.
When you’re doing serious driving, you can brings the tachometer into the center and get additional information on the power output, torque, g-forces, lap time and the temperature of the tires, either side of the techometer.
The R8 was comfortable on a long motorway slog, but it’s an equally comfortable place to be while pootling around town.
The car is easy to get in and out of, and visibility all around is very good for a car like this.
There really are very little downsides.
After getting back from the weekend trip, I made an excuse to drive the R8 every day. Trip to the post office? No problem. Need a lift into town? I’ll do it!
In a word, yes.
In slightly more words, I was so impressed with how easy the R8 was to drive every day. Whether on a long motorway drive, down twisty roads, or in town, the Audi took it all in its stride.
There was never a moment I was inconvenienced by the car, although, it could have been slightly more comfortable during the four hour journey. If we were nitpicking.
Also, of course, I didn’t venture to IKEA or a Christmas tree farm during my week with the car, but luckily, with the Spyder, you could put the roof down and sit any large items in the passenger seat (only losing a few tree needles when you floor the throttle).
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