What's the 2020 R8 V10 RWD like?
Peasant's reaction to driving monster Audi
Today is a good day. No, a GREAT day. It's a great day because, despite all the odds, with a bit of luck pushing (and some moderate naughty string-pulling) I've managed to bag myself a go in a 2020 Audi R8 V10, rear wheel drive model.
I won't tarry about here, this has always been my dream car to own. Not the RWD specifically, but ANY R8 in general.
Thus far, the closest I've gotten was my old Audi S5 - the V8 model. You know the one, the same 4.2 lump they had in the original R8, as well as the V8 Gallardo. I was proud of it and thought that was probably the closest I'd ever get to sitting behind the wheel of such a motoring great.
So let's dive into this, because there are prison inmates out there on release day right now less excited than I am.
If you've got it, flaunt it
At an immediate glance I noticed the sideblades aren't the usual carbon, but are in fact body coloured. Nicely finished in that crystal Ara blue. Although I'd have gone for carbon myself, the carbon sideblades are one of the most iconic things about the R8's side profile. It looks a bit lost in itself without.
Walking around to the rear the now-540PS detuned 5.2 V10 is very much there on display. And very much making me a bit weak at the knees. I hope that little detail didn't slip your attention there - yes it's a bit down on power. But it's also a bit lighter thanks to it not having the Quattro system. It'll be interesting to see how that feels as the new entry level R8.
As my thumb looms towards the engine start button on the wheel, I can't help but feel like President Trump, gleefully scrambling to hit the nuke button on something. But I'd rather be me right now. Presidents can't drive, har har.
It bursts to life with a trouser-tightening thunder and I'm immediately thinking of hitting the first corner out on the road.
Now I'll be honest with you here. I did plant my foot on one occasion and felt the back step out a touch. I'm not saying poo came out, but the interior of this particular R8 is now a grand shade of mahogany. You're very welcome, future-R8 owner.
With that said it's surprisingly controllable, there's no unruly feel here. Quite the opposite actually - lower down the rev range it doesn't feel like too much of a firebreathing animal. Anything under 5,000 and it's fairly tame. Probably deliberate on Audi's part to make it a more livable car day to day.
Anything on the north side of about 5,200 revolutions though and it really comes alive. It's pretty addictive to chase the higher revs because of this. I dare say it's a bit like owning a VTEC car in that sense. You're laughing. I can totally see you laughing.
The steering response is like few things I've driven before and does feel far more connected than I've experienced in Audi's S and RS cars. As it damn well should. It's their supercar.
And just like that my adrenaline filled, yet brief encounter with my hero came to an abrupt end and it was time for me to hand back the key. But contrary to what they say about meeting your heroes, I walked away not feeling disappointed.
One of the major things I noticed was the looks you get. I've daily driven all sorts of loud things from V6s, V8s and various superbikes, but nothing gets the heads turning quite like this does in my experience. The road presence, the noise of that V10 - it's a blissful assault on the senses.
Only thing I wasn't keen on was the virtual display. I just couldn't stop thinking about how much that would cost to replace when/if it goes pop. But that's probably less an R8-owner issue and more of an oh-wait-I'm-a-peasant issue.
An inspiring car. the original R8s are coming down so low in price now that you can pick one up for as little as the low 30ks. I wonder if the same will be said for this one in a decade to come.
Time will tell.