For Audi, the R8 is a very important model, not just in India but globally as well, for it enhances the image of the brand for buyers looking at more affordable cars in Audi’s line-up. The R8 is a perfect manifestation of advanced engineering and technology, something that has been the company’s forte for years now. Even the R8 before the current one was nothing short of phenomenal. We remember the first-generation R8 – Audi’s very first step into the supercar world – and as it turned out – customers bought it and loved it. It was a proper supercar. Cheaper than a Ferrari and a Lamborghini, and just that bit pricier than a Porsche 911. And when Audi states that the R8 is the best-selling supercar in India, we’re honestly not surprised. Audi has done a swell job with the R8; that too if one had to bear in mind that Audi, many years ago, didn’t have what it took to bring out a machine of this kind.
Audi’s current-generation R8 on sale in India, was launched back in 2016 at the Auto Expo, priced at 2.55 crore rupees. This car takes things up a notch even further, for it looks more aggressive and comes with sharper driving dynamics. Audi Cars claim that the new R8 has been tuned to ensure a race car-like experience from behind the wheel, meaning it is a lot more driver-focused than ever before. And on top of that, it gets a sophisticated cockpit and the latest tech. We go for a drive in it to tell you if it really is the most value-for-money supercar you can buy.
So, what else?
For those of you who don’t know, Audi started the whole mid-engine setup theory on its Gran Prix cars in the 1930s. The engine has evolved over the years, and we dig deeper to tell you what the new one is all about. The overall silhouette does remind us of the previous model, but the current model retains the spaceframe chassis and of course, the mid-mounted V10 engine. However, there’s a lot more to know about it. The spaceframe chassis is a combination of carbon-fibre and aluminium. It is also shared with Lamborghini’s Huracan and the chassis is lighter and more rigid. Also, the R8 is now wider, offers improved front grip and features aluminium double wishbones at all four corners, along with stiffer dampers and springs. The steering setup is now a fully-electric unit, which partly contributes to the car’s efficiency as well.
The Audi R8 also comes with an all-new quattro system that features a new electro-hydraulically operated multi-plate clutch. It reacts quicker and adds to the sporty drive experience. The slip on the rear differential can also be adjusted with the help of a dial positioned on the steering. So you get dry, wet and snowy modes. Changes have been implemented to the V10 too – like a new dual injection system. The engine is also lighter, happier to rev, climbing all the way to 9000rpm.
The car cannot be mistaken for being anything other than an R8. The sharp nose, the huge grille and the signature side blades remain but look different obviously. The roofline too, has been inspired by the first-gen model. However, we felt the new Audi R8 looks more compact and all those lines and sharp edges give it an identity of its own.
Inside the cockpit
Inside the Audi R8, nothing looks familiar. The cockpit is new in every sense of the word. Everything you see and touch is sporty. We like the floating, chrome-finished AC controls that have mini screens incorporated. Then there’s the high-definition, fully-digital instrument cluster also known as the virtual cockpit. There are multiple modes and screens you can toggle through. Another nice detail is the gear selector, which looks like it belongs to an airliner. The steering gets a metal finish with chrome-bordered buttons. The steering also features Audi’s Drive Select, like Comfort and Performance. The seats get a thin layer of foam and leather; not the most comfortable seats in a supercar. And the driver’s seat can be electrically-lifted.
The drive experience
The engine is very responsive and powerful – and with the aid of the super-quick transmission and the all-wheel-drive system – there’s a terrific surge of power that can be felt. Floor the throttle, and the Audi R8 simply shoots ahead, and your head is pressed back into the headrest every time you floor it, no matter what speed you are at. This is a car that makes you laugh and smile, both. Also, grab the latest info on the new cars, only at autoX.