The 2017 Audi R8 exotic sports car isn’t the only fully redesigned Audi this year that looks an awful lot like its predecessor (ahem, A4). But in the R8’s case, at least, that might be more of a compliment than a criticism. After all, the first-generation R8 was so Hollywood cool that it served as Iron Man’s steed, and it was still turning heads when it bowed out in 2015. The challenge, as Audi saw it, was to preserve the R8’s curb appeal while adding contemporary technology and even more performance to its repertoire.
As before, the all-wheel-drive 2017 R8 is based on a sister car from Lamborghini. This time, it is the new Huracan, which is a replacement for the discontinued Gallardo. Gone, for better or worse, are the original R8’s sultry base V8 engine and distinctive exposed-gate manual transmission. With the new R8, you can have any powertrain you like as long as it’s a screaming Lamborghini-derived 5.2-liter V10 paired with a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic. There are probably a few people who will lament the loss of the old-school manual, but there’s so much greatness with the precise S tronic automated gearbox that’s it hard to really complain.
In every way a car from the future, Audi R8 is the epitome of sports car designs. There was always an apprehension about creating cars that run quick at the same time look elegant because having one automatically pushed the other into an abyss at some level. Audi however found the perfect mix. The front grill of the Audi R8 too is innovative, slightly tweaked from its other cousins. With strong horizontal strokes extending through the front grill, the vents under the headlamps, the car is a true design gem.The curves on the front bonnet extend so effortlessly like a butter sliding on a hot pan. It is this brilliant design aesthetic that gives Audi an edge over its aerodynamic skills. While the curves extend on the roof and the side profile too, never do the curves make the car look voluptuous. Rather they are like a perfectly made sculpture with the right about of muscle in the right places. The car’s side profile is predominantly dominated by the beauty of the ASF and we cannot complain for it just looks so wonderful with the entire design in general. The rear profile of the Audi R8 has the letters R8 etched with a red parallelogram behind R showing off its sporty appeal. The air vents are right under the tail lamps since the vehicle’s engine is mid moutned. The curves fit perfectly together without just enough gaps between plates to make a grown man kneel for more. As a whole, the exteriors of Audi R8 are splendid and the sheer pleasure of seeing it, let alone riding it is indescribable.
Inside the cabin, the changes are more noticeable than they are on the outside. First up is a redesigned, flat-bottom steering wheel with plenty of controls mounted on the crossbars – more than on the 2015 model. Audi also added a set of revised sports seats with enhanced lateral support, thanks to revised headrest and deeper pockets – these updated seats are standard on the V10 Plus but optional on the standard model.Giving the driver all the important vitals on the 2017 R8 is Audi’s virtual cockpit, which features a 12.3-inch screen. This screen not only replaces the instrument gauges, but also the MMI screen that cluttered up the center console. The driver can reconfigure this display via controls on the new steering wheel to show only the information he wants.From images, I can see that the designs of the dashboard and the center stack are new, too. The air vents are reshaped and the center vents are no longer housed within the center stack bezel. Additionally, the HVAC controls are repositioned and appear to be easier to reach. Lastly, with the six-speed manual transmission no longer an option, the center console features only the S tronic transmission’s switchgear.
The covering for the cabin is at the discretion of the buyer. He can go with an Alcantara-and pearl Nappa leather combo or the optional full fine Nappa leather. Other optional dress-up items include diamond stitching and clear-coated carbon-fiber trim.Standard on the 2017 R8 is MMI navigation and the MMI touch wheel. The Audi connect module gives the passenger the ability to connect his smartphone or tablet to the car and utilized the system’s Wi-Fi hotspot. For buyers who need a little more, there is an optional Bang & Olufsen audio system with 500 watts.Overall, the cabin looks and likely feels like a new generation compared to the 2015 model. So where Audi failed to completely impress me on the outside, it certainly made up for it in the cabin.
Enough discussion on the exteriors and interiors, let’s get to the meat of the matter now. The powerplant sitting at the rear of the car is a beastly 610 HP at 8250 RPM and 560 Nm at 6500 RPM naturally aspirated, 5.2-litre, V10 engine which comes matched to a 7-speed S-Tronic gearbox. Press the red button on the steering wheel and the motor comes to life with a loud rumble. The engine settles with a meaty exhaust note and once you start driving with light throttle inputs, the mill constantly gives out a burble. Give it the beans and the music from the V10 powertrain is a source of immense pleasure.
Talking about driveability, there is a linear surge of power right from 1000 RPM to the 8000 RPM redline. This being an NA engine, turbo lag is out of the question, the aggressiveness with which the power is delivered is mindblowing. 0-100 km/hr comes up in just 3.2 seconds and the entire rev band feels punchy. The Audi R8 has a top speed of 330 km/hr. The 7-speed tranny is quick shifting and downshifts gears rapidly when you pin the throttle in kick down mode. There are different driving modes via Audi Drive Select like Comfort, Individual, Dynamic and Auto and I think Comfort mode is good for most driving situations. The Dynamic mode is useful on the track as well as when you want to push the car on the twisties. Talking about fuel efficiency of a supercar is a crime so no comments here. However, I’m sure you’re curious and so, the R8 churns out 3-4 km/l under usual driving conditions with some pedal-to-metal moments while sedate and consistent driving on the highways will deliver 6 km/l too.
RIDE AND HANDLING ;
A vehicle of this might requires equally strong chassis and braking systems, and the company sees to this. The front wheels come with 8-piston brake callipers, while the rear wheels are equipped with 4-piston callipers. We thought that cornering, braking and stopping were a marvellous and strain free affair. With the massive speeds that the car takes to, however, you’re likely to be thrown around slightly during swift cornering. The vehicle tackles road anomalies moderately, but one needs to note that it has been designed for high speed cruising on clean raceways, not bumbling over potholes and road bumps. Its advanced suspension arrangement includes dynamically tuned springs and shock absorbers, and this does help to ease the overall ride condition
Audi has a pretty good sales and after-sales network in India so servicing the R8 won’t be an issue. In terms of safety features, you get a lot of tech like traction control, ESP, ASR, Electronic Differential Lock, collapsible steering column, ABS with EBD along with multiple airbags including dual front airbags, side airbags, seat-mounted and side head level airbags.
Absolutely. It may not be the fastest, most charismatic or the best-riding supercar around and, in the rarified atmosphere in which it operates, it may not have the most alluring badge either. But as an all-round experience, there’s very little that can take on and beat Audi’s new R8. It’s blisteringly fast, drives like a track car, is beautifully built on the inside and looks just stunning. It’s even good value, what with prices starting at Rs 2.55 crore and competition like the Huracan costing in the region of Rs 2.5-3.43 crore. It’s even likely to be better looked after, especially with a long list of dealers spread across the country and service stations now in many small towns. So, if a supercar is on your shopping list, make sure you test drive one of these.