Audi R8 V10 Plus driving report

Achim Hartmann
Audi R8 V10 Plus in the driving report
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E s is nothing less than the prologue to the test drive with a super sports car: the first scream when the lungs expand and reveal their volume. Often this awakening experience leads directly to the character of the car. And with the Audi R8? The previous one presented itself as a German-bourgeois version of a Lamborghini Gallardo, with which it shares the technical platform, but at least as a V10 version, it was almost Italian. R8 II is again based on the current mid-engine Lambo, now Huracan, which makes the question of sound all the more relevant. Does the Audi yell or not?

First of all, the second generation of the R8 is also accessible, welcoming its passengers courteously with wide-opening doors and barrier-free access. So let's slide into the RS seat shells and let our gaze wander over the interior: The digital instruments are familiar from the TT. Surprisingly, the R8 V10 Plus does not quite share its radicalism: the controls for the air conditioning are not located in the air vents. For this purpose, four control blocks are now gathered in the steering wheel - for changing the setup, the information in the digital display, controlling the exhaust flaps and of course starting the engine. So thumb on it to finally answer the question asked at the beginning.

Audi R8 V10 Plus with 5.2 liter vacuum cleaner and 610 HP

The V10 ignites, snaps. Pressure on the ears, like a downhill descent in fast motion. As if the interior was briefly inflated with sound waves. Then the waves ebb and the 5.2-liter vacuum cleaner grumbles as a stereo five-cylinder - hotter, rough and overdriven. Taming? Not a trace. Now the 610 PS strong V10 Plus, which we hear here as a test, is blaring out its exhaust gases through the sports exhaust for 1900 euros. Only the flap control tames it.

Similar to the Huracan, the R8 V10 Plus is only available with a dual clutch gearbox; So put the selector lever on D for Drive and go. Despite all the new features, the two-seater feels familiar and is well-behaved. Super sports cars to be taken seriously have long been offering useful everyday comfort and the Audi is no exception. The Audi R8, a gentleman racer?

The ten-cylinder reacts explosively

There are many indications, others rather the opposite. There is, for example, the even more demanding gas approach than before. The ten-cylinder reacts explosively, what just after the start-stop awakeningcan lead to an unwanted mini-sprint at the traffic lights. No, the sucker does not want to die, rears up against the inevitable fate of its extermination. Thanks to Lamborghini, Audi is sticking to this emotion engine, which is a curiosity in itself: the Ingolstadt-based company switched to the turbo trend at an early stage and more radically than almost any other manufacturer. Not with the R8. Not yet.

It will certainly not stop at the two performance levels of the V10 - the entry-level variant already produces 540 hp. A smaller, weaker engine will follow, then surely charged and thus trimmed entirely to the current ECE line. As it is, however, the R8 is still the bad guy within the ringed model range that is allowed to break out of the consumption constraints. And because Ferrari recently switched to the turbo, Audi and its subsidiary Lamborghini have the suction sovereignty in the 600 hp segment.

Audi R8 V10 still with high-speed concept

That he starts slightly impetuous, is a sign of the enthusiasm that the ten-cylinder exudes. Already in the lower speed range - which goes well up to over 2500 rpm with a high-speed engine - it fires through the middle and hits the red area from 8,500 rpm. In manual mode, the gearbox lets the V10 clatter mercilessly into the limiter until the releasing paddle pull. Fortunately, because any interference drives sports drivers crazy on the racetrack. And there, too, the R8 V10 Plus wants to be taken seriously, as its performance mode proves.

It is new and you activate it via a button on the steering wheel (with checkered flag pictogram) - as do the setups, by the way for chassis, steering, throttle response and shift strategy (drive select) as well as the exhaust flap. There are three levels of snow, wetness and dryness to choose from within the performance mode. We choose dry as well as dry, because the weather and road conditions are ideal and Audi lets us do a few laps on the locked Experience Center in Neuburg.

Two things are immediately noticeable here: The R8 V10 grabs you more than its predecessor. And it gives you a sense of security right off the bat. The fact that you can let it fly on the first lap is ultimately not a matter of course with a 600 hp car. But the Audi stays calm on the brakes, steers in prudently, balances neutrally around the apex and fires out of the corner with all-wheel armor. At the limit it pushes over the front axle, which can be corrected with a load change. If you do it optimally, you can let the rear axle hang out slightly.

The relaxed speeding

And with the ESP switched off? The predecessor accepted the slightest request to move sideways, but had to struggle with the many Newton meters on the rear axle. The newcomer, however, has to be persuaded to drift for a long time, then showsMid-engine rockiness that is difficult to parry.

On the other hand, there is hardly any reason to completely deactivate the ESP, as the performance mode keeps the leash long enough and only imperceptibly intervenes in the action. The relaxed driving speed - typical for Audi models - succeeds straight away with the R8 V10 Plus. Because the seats are now twelve millimeters lower, you feel much better integrated into the racing car. The interior, which is completely focused on the driver, fits in well with this. The fact that it is around 50 kilograms lighter than its predecessor makes the two-seater appear nimble. However, one notices the size growth negatively: the two-seater was 36 millimeters in width.

R8 grows by 36 millimeters in width

With this criticism of the excessive dimensions the Audi R8 V10 Plus is in good company. Regardless of whether Aston Martin Vantage V12, Ferrari 488 GTB, Lamborghini Huracan or Porsche Turbo S - strictly speaking, all of them have long outgrown the country lanes and have to be placed between the shoulder and the median with fingertips. The fact that the R8 allows relatively little sweat to flow from the driver clearly speaks for him. And for ensuring that the engineers have succeeded in getting a good feeling for the car.

They have extremeized the R8 in both directions: It has become more radical and faster, is more comfortable (at least to the limit) and lighter to drive - and gives the layman more skill. A big plus.

Of course you could now talk about the advantages of the aluminum-carbon chassis (15 percent lighter and 40 percent stiffer than the previous aluminum construction, just by the way). Or about Audi tidying up the cockpit of the R8 (similar to the TT, an animated instrument display replaces the on-board monitor). But all of this fades into the background when racing driver Frank Stippler extinguishes the V10 engine, turns it well over 8,000 rpm and the 5.2-liter unit screams as if all NEDC officials were after him.

'The sound and response of a naturally aspirated engine are simply unique,' says Stippler, but the words are almost completely washed away by the sound waves of the direct injection engine.

New Audi R8 with stronger all-wheel drive characteristics

In the second generation of the Audi R8 you sit a little deeper, a little deeper if the optional bucket seats have been ordered, but not deep enough to perfectly accommodate tall drivers with helmets - which, admittedly, is quite right should be a sharp requirement profile. In any case, the lateral support fits, which becomes clear at the latest when Stippler roasts at 232 km /h through the Eau Rouge-like right bend of the Ascari Raceway. When he fired through the uphill chicane with small, jagged steering movements, movement came into the rear of the mid-engine sports car. 'Of course it shouldthe partly indifferent driving behavior of the current model can be turned off, but a little oversteer has to be ', comments the racing driver.

After the hot laps, Heinz Hollerweger, boss of Quattro GmbH, will add:' With that now An electronically controlled multi-plate clutch takes over the frictional connection to the front axle instead of a viscous element, more drive power can be pushed forward faster than before. 'In addition, there is a so-called speed error, which allows two percent higher wheel speeds than on the rear axle with constant power distribution. “This makes it easier to straighten the car when you oversteer by accelerating, giving it stronger all-wheel drive characteristics than before.” A mechanical locking differential continues to work on the rear axle with a degree of locking of 25 percent when pulling and 55 percent when pushing - and oversteer, as happened to the R8 predecessor at the limit , should deal with it.

V10 vacuum cleaner remains

On the subject of doing: the V10 vacuum cleaner remains the Audi R8 really received over its entire life cycle? 'Yes,' confirms Hollerweger resolutely - in two performance levels: The basic version has 540 hp and develops a maximum torque of 540 Newton meters, the more powerful Plus model comes with just those 610 hp and 560 Newton meters. The top model is supposed to crack the 100 km /h mark in 3.2 seconds from a standstill, 200 km /h in 9.9 seconds (basis: 3.5 and 11.3 s).

But the Audi R8 will not do without a supercharged engine, because the basic V8 is thrown out, followed by a six-cylinder TFSI, possibly with an electric charger. When? that still takes - but doesn't matter. Until then, we can enjoy the ten-cylinder hammer. And not just from the passenger seat.

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