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Audi's supercar just got better

Created on 08/11/2015 @ 08:30
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Test Drive by Graham Breeze

How to improve one of the most popular supercars on European roads was the dilemma facing designers at Audi - but somehow they have managed to make the all-new R8 even better.
The V10 supercar is arriving in UK showrooms this month with advanced new Quattro all-wheel-drive, up to 610PS and a breathtaking top speed of 205mph.
This second generation R8 comes in two models, both featuring V10 engines – one with 532bhp, the other with 602bhp. The entry level V10, costs £119,500, while the V10 Plus model starts at £134,500, though the Plus version just tested was packed with extras to take the price up to a staggering £153,350.
When we're talking supercars you clearly need to know how it performs so you won't be disappointed to hear there's 0-62mph in 3.2 seconds, 0-124mph in 9.9 seconds and a 205mph top speed.
You also won't be disappointed to hear that it sticks to the road like glue. There could have been no better location to test its handling abilities than the demanding roads of the Cote de-A'zur where the results were as near as it gets to a real-life version of Scalextrix thanks to the quatrro all-wheel drive and variable torque control.
Audi has achieved all this because the chassis is stiffer and the four-wheel drive system is smarter, while the engines produce more energy yet burn less fuel despite the 5.2-litre block being unchanged.
Other improvements include a stunning virtual cockpit, Audi drive select to allow the individual to choose his or her own performance level, Audi connect for Internet services, and all- round parking assist - a must as the R8 is wider than you would expect and the last thing you want is to scratch the valuable alloy wheels.
Inside the cabin it's as near perfect as it can get. The Audi cockpit is set in a free-standing housing with all the information displayed on a 12.3inch screen and
everything controlled from the multifunction steering wheel via a series of well positioned buttons. Remember when steering wheels wee just for steering?
You control the information and entertainment facilities from the wheel and the drive select system which means you can adjust exhaust noise and adjustable flaps alongside the performance mode selection.
Night time driving has been improved with the introduction of optional laser light technology. The standard LED lights are strong enough but the laser system
takes things to a new level. The £3,000 additional cost may prove too much for some though.

To improve fuel economy and enhance output, the latest V10 engine gains indirect fuel injection to complement its FSI direct petrol injection, and also features CoD (Cylinder on Demand) technology for the first time. In simple terms the system shuts off one of the two cylinder banks by deactivating injection and ignition.

The R8 V10 can return up to 24.8mpg with CO2 emissions of 272 grams per kilometre – equivalent values for the R8 V10 plus are 23.0mpg and 287 grams per kilometre. I suspect you’ll need to keep your foot off the accelerator to achieve these figures though.

The figures represent an improvement in fuel economy of up to 13 per cent compared on previous models, due in no small part to the new start-stop system. 

A new freewheeling or ‘coasting’ function built into the seven-speed S tronic transmission fitted to both versions also boosts efficiency, while the newly developed quattro drive system transmits the power to the road with even greater adaptability – in extreme cases, 100 percent of the torque can be transmitted to the front or rear axle.

Both versions are fitted with 19-inch wheels in exclusive designs as standard, and in the V10 plus these are combined as standard with ceramic brake discs offering even more assured stopping power. For the first time R8 V10 plus customers also have the option to upgrade to a 20-inch wheel.  

On the outside, the V10 is equipped with an electrically extending spoiler, while the R8 V10 plus gains a large fixed rear wing in carbon sigma, matching the finish of its heated and folding exterior mirrors, sideblades, front spoiler lip and rear diffuser.  

To add visual impact to the mid-mounted 10-cylinder engine, both 540PS and 610 PS versions feature an interior LED lighting package which illuminates the glass-covered engine compartment and the footwells.  

The test car checked in at £132,715 but if you can afford that you’ll certainly be tempted to add a reversing camera, gloss engine trim, Laser lights, a storage package, sports exhaust, dynamic steering, magnetic ride, pneumatic seat adjustment, Alacantra headlining, a leather package, cruise control, a Bang & Olufsen sound system and a phone system.

Add delivery charge and road fund licence fee of £1,100 and the price totalled £153,650.

If you want one you’ll have to move quickly because enthusiasts have already pre-ordered 300 vehicles and Audi only expects to have a total of 450 for sale in the UK.

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