Make / Model Search

Car reviews - Audi - R8 - 4.2 FSI quattro coupe

The Car

7 Mar 2008

THE Audi brand will rocket to new heights with the launch of a Ferrari-fighting supercar in Australia.

Audi Australia welcomed the stunning R8 supercar to its range at Phillip Island racetrack in Victoria this week with a high-speed introduction.

The V8-powered supercar not only sets new standards for the performance of Audi cars, but is also the most expensive sportscar to wear the four-ringed badge.

The R8 manual starts from $259,000 and the sequential automatic comes in at $274,000, which means the awesome Audi competes with the all-wheel drive Porsche 911 Carrera 4S ($259,990) and the track-ready 911 GT3. It also significantly undercuts the $389,000 Ferrari F430.

The R8 will clearly be the hero of the Audi range, but it will not be the most expensive model. That honour remains with the A8 long-wheelbase limousine, priced from $326,000.

Like that model, Audi is not expecting to shift large numbers of R8s, with an annual allocation of 80 cars. Even so, Audi Australia managing director Joerg Hofmann said the car would have a big impact.

“The Audi R8 will become an icon for Audi and, albeit niche, this is a car that clearly embodies our Vorsprung durch Technik (advancement through technology),” Mr Hofmann said. “It will be instrumental in further boosting our brand image and awareness in this market.”

While Audi has built high-performance versions of existing production cars such as the A4-based RS4, and has the dedicated TT in its arsenal, it has never before built a real supercar.

It does own Lamborghini, though, and it comes as no surprise that Audi looked to its Italian sibling when developing the R8.

The new uber-Audi shares its lightweight chassis with the Lamborghini Gallardo. It also uses an optional automated manual transmission called “R-tronic”, which is a substantial evolution of Lamborghini’s E-Gear transmission, allowing for faster, smoother changes.

Audi resisted borrowing the V10 powerplant from Gallardo, instead opting for the sweet-spinning 4.2-litre V8 that first appeared in the RS4 sedan. This direct-injection engine, which can spin all the way to 8250rpm, pumps out 309kW at 7800rpm and 430Nm at 4500-6000rpm.

It is mid-mounted, just like the Gallardo, which helps contribute to the R8's high levels of directional stability.

The engine also uses a dry sump, which means it can be installed very low in the car to lower the centre of gravity.

A six-speed manual with a short-throw shifter is standard, while the optional R-tronic automated manual also has six gears. The single-clutch R-tronic can be operated with steering wheel-mounted paddles or can be left in full automatic mode. It also has a launch feature to help drivers achieve the ultimate start.

The official 0-100km/h sprint time for the R8 stands at 4.6 seconds. Initial sprint testing from international media outlets has indicated that that time may be conservative and could come much closer to 4.0 seconds flat. The supercar can also accelerate from 0-200km/h in 14.9 seconds and has a top speed of 301km/h.

In order to feed the power to the ground, the R8 uses a quattro all-wheel-drive system using a centre viscous coupling. Audi engineers set up the R8 as a predominantly rear-drive model, with between 10 per cent and 35 per cent of drive sent to the front wheels.

The R8 runs a rear limited slip differential for the ultimate cornering traction.

It uses an aluminium spaceframe with some magnesium sections, which weighs just 210kg and is made alongside Lamborghini chassis at Neckarsulm in Germany.

Forged aluminium is used for most of the suspension components, with the R8 using a double wishbone set-up at the front and rear.

A magnetic suspension damping system that adapts to road conditions is an option in many overseas markets, but is standard in Australia.

The use of lightweight aluminium for many parts, and plastic bootlid and wings, has allowed Audi to keep the kerb weight of the R8 at a respectable 1560kg for the manual and 1565kg for the automated manual.

Audi was not about to skimp on the braking hardware for the R8. Up front, eight-piston calipers lock onto massive 380mm diameter discs, while four-piston calipers and 356mm discs take care of rear braking.

While some markets have introduced the R8 with 18-inch wheels, 19-inch rims are standard equipment for Australian cars.

Audi has included electronic stability control, and it is fully switchable for track-day fun.

The R8 is 4431mm long, 1904mm wide and has a wheelbase of 2650mm.

The design of the R8 production car was first hinted at with the Le Mans concept of 2003. It features the trapezoidal single-frame Audi grille and large air vents that sit below each of the headlights.

The headlights feature a main Xenon light, surrounded by 12 LED lights for daytime running.

Audi engineers are finalising full-LED headlights, which the company claims will be brighter and crisper than any Xenon or traditional halogen headlights. It plans to add the optional system to the R8 next year. LEDs are also used to throw light on the R8’s engine when the ignition is turned off.

The same design team that shaped the Le Mans-winning R8 racecar was responsible for the R8, but the road car was never going to feature the wild wings of the Le Mans racing special. Designers were against large spoilers, but needed to create substantial downforce.

The R8 features a restrained rear-mounted spoiler that extends automatically and uses a complex underbody diffuser system to keep the car glued to the track at high speeds.

The LED tail-lights are punctuated by large vents that sit below them. Two twin exhaust pipes are incorporated into either side of the rear bumper.

The side view of the coupe is dominated by what Audi calls the side blade, a vertical panel that sits behind the driver. These are available in carbon fibre for an extra $5050.

The leading edge of the lower part of the blade features ducts that pump air into the engine.

While performance was the ultimate aim of the R8 development team, it was also recognised that some level of practicality was required. As a result, the R8 has a small cargo area of 100 litres under the bonnet, while Audi insists there is enough room for two sets of golf clubs behind the seats.

Leather and alcantara are used for the supportive sports seats. Like the Audi TT and RS4, the R8 features a flat-bottomed steering wheel.

The R8 also features Audi’s MMI control roller ball and display screen that sits above the climate controls, while a lap timer is also standard for track work.

Satellite navigation is standard, along with a reversing camera and a premium sound system.

A top-line Bang and Olufsen sound system is a $3800 option, as is a carbon-fibre engine bay surround at $7850.

The Road to Recovery podcast series

Did you know?

R8s fitted with R-Tronic have Launch Control, whereby the driver puts the transmission in S mode and then deactivates the ESP. If the foot brake and accelerator are both pressed right down, the system automatically establishes the engine speed needed for optimum traction and power transmission. When the brake is released, the R-Tronic engages the clutch with ultimate efficiency and accelerates the R8 at maximum speed.

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

GoAuto can help you buy a new R8

Customer Terms and Conditions – New Car Lead enquires


This is an agreement between GoAutoMedia Pty Limited ACN 094 732 457 of PO Box 18, Beach Road, Sandringham, VIC, 3191 (“we/us”), the owner and operator of the GoAuto.com.au website (“the website”) and the person wanting GoAuto.com.au to provide them with a lead for the purchase of a new car (“you”).

By completing a New Car Lead Enquiry, you agree to the terms and conditions and disclaimers and acknowledge the policies set out below.

Terms and Conditions

  • In order for us to effect a lead you must you must complete a New Car Lead Enquiry (“Enquiry”).
  • We will call you as soon as possible after you complete the Enquiry and certainly no later than the next business day. When we call, we will discuss with you your new car requirements.
  • You consent to our passing on the Enquiry and your requirements to an appropriate authorised motor car dealer as a lead.
  • We will contact you again in approximately eight days following your initial enquiry to check on the progress of the Enquiry.
  • While we will provide the dealer with the Enquiry and details of your new car requirements, we take no responsibility for what happens after passing on that material as a lead.
  • You acknowledge that we are a new car information service providing new car editorial information, pictures and prices to our customers as a guide only. Any new car prices published on the website are the manufacturers’ recommended retail prices and do not include delivery charges and on-road costs. Any authorized motor car dealer to which we pass on your Enquiry as a lead will provide you with full details of the price at which the vehicle will be sold to you.
  • You acknowledge that we do not sell motor vehicles. Any sale of a new car to you by a dealer after we have passed on your Enquiry to that dealer as a lead, is a sale by that dealer not by us.

Privacy Policy– New Car Lead Enquires

  • We take privacy very seriously. We understand that you will only complete an Enquiry if you can trust us to protect your personal information and use it appropriately. Our policy is to ensure that the personal information collected when you make an Enquiry is only used for the purposes of connecting you with an authorised motor car dealer.
  • We do not on-sell information collected from you or any other customer.
  • From time to time, we may email you with information or promotions that may be relevant for car buyers. You will continue to receive communications from us unless you tell us that you do not want to receive any advertising or promotional information in the future by unsubscribing from these communications.
* Denotes required field
** Australian inquiries only

R8 pricing

Motor industry news

GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.

Catch up on all of the latest industry news with this week's edition of GoAutoNews
Click here