Audi R8 V10 Plus06 | 11 | 2015Scotcars rating

    Audi's new 'halo' model, the barnstorming R8 V10 Plus is just .... well, we'll let you find out

    IT'S 10 YEARS SINCE Audi launched its first R8, which appeared to loud applause and much praise. Now we have the second generation of Audi's 'halo' car, and not only is it the fastest, most powerful production car in the marque's history … but it's an absolute belter.

    Ok, let's immediately put things in perspective here. The entry price for the new R8 V10 is £119,500: step up to the R8 V10 Plus, which we test here, and you'll need a minimum of £134,500 before you roll it out of the sparkling showroom.

    Worth mentioning, the car I drove also had the best part of £20k of 'extras' fitted. But I guess, if you can afford £134,500, another 20 grand for the right spec isn't going to put you off.

    The new model's predecessor came with a choice of V10 or V8 engines, but this 2016 version comes only as 5.2-litre V10: I know, isn't that a 'disappointment'. The engine is also available in two states of power: the 533bhp V10, or the barnstorming, all-singing, all-dancing 602bhp V10 Plus.

    And while the 'entry-level' V10 is good for 0-62mph in 3.5secs and has a top speed of 198mph, the V10 Plus hits 62mph in 3.2secs — the identical figure to its sister car, the Lamborghini Huracan, which uses the same powertrain — and accelerates on to a maximum of 205mph.

    Both new R8s use Audi's stunning, quicker-shifting 7-speed S tronic gearbox — a manual version isn't available — and enjoy the security of performance delivered by the latest version of Audi's iconic quattro four-wheel drive system. It also comes with variable torque control as standard.

    Oh, and just in case you're interested, the V10 returns 24.8mpg at the pumps, while the V10 Plus delivers — at least according to Audi — 23mpg. In the real world? Well over the 280km I drove, I averaged 16.7mpg.

    CO2? That's 272g/km for the V10, and 287g/km for the V10 Plus.

    Fuel efficiency has been aided by the introduction of dual injection and cylinder-on-demand (COD) technology.

    Under part load, the latter shuts down one bank of the engine. Cleverly, it then runs as a five-cylinder, swapping between banks of cylinders every 30sec or so to keep the catalytic converters up to working temperature. The great thing is, you never know it's happening.

    Interestingly, when Audi launched the original R8 road car, the company was at pains to emphasise it wasn't a 'supercar'.

    What's the second word in the press blurb for the new model? Yup, you guessed it: supercar.

    Audi highlighted the performance and race heritage of the new R8 by pointing out that the GT3 race version of the 2015 car was unveiled five months before the road-going version. And a few weeks after the GT3 hit the track, it won the Nurburgring 24-Hours.

    It should also come as no surprise that some of the technology from Audi’s Le Mans programme is now appearing in the R8. While LED headlights are standard, you can order laser spots for the high-beams. And they're pretty stunning, doubling the range of the main beams, but you do pay a hefty premium for the innovation … £3000.

    So, now that we've established the new model already has a race heritage, it's worth pointing out that both the race version and the road-going car share 56% of their parts.

    The road-going version benefits from the adoption of two differentials. There's an electronically controlled multi-plate diff at the front, which replaces the old model’s viscose coupling, and a conventional mechanical limited-slip diff at the rear.

    The new system now allows for 100% of the torque to be directed to the front or rear depending on need. Audi says it also reduces turn-in understeer.

    The car looks stunning. It's lower, wider and flatter than its predecessor, and boasts a stunning new two-part side blade design.

    There are also dramatic new styling cues at the front and rear: the V10 Plus gets a permanent carbon-fibre spoiler (the V10 gets an electronic retractable one), while at the front end are the stunning new all-LED headlights.

    Inside the cabin, both models get Audi's 12.3in Virtual Cockpit — which replaces the traditional dials and infotainment screen — as standard, plus Nappa leather-covered sports seats: the V10 Plus gets buckets seats.

    Both models are fitted with 19in alloys as standard, with ceramic brakes offed as an option. Audi Connect, the  company's integrated wifi system, is also standard on both cars.

    Related: Roadtest — Audi A4 2.0TDI Ultra

    Ease yourself into the well-fitting Nappa leather bucket seat and the first thing you see is the R8's flat-bottomed steering wheel which appears to have been styled on something from a Le Mans — or F1 — race car.

    Not only does it include the big red starter button, but there's a plethora of additional buttons which will help you set up the various driving modes and torque maps.

    Push the red button, and boy does the R8 Plus fire into action. There's a sumptuous cacophony of exhilarating noise as — without question — one of the all-time great engines fires into life.

    Don't be put off: on start-up the R8's software momentarily holds the revs at 2500rpm, and all is relatively peaceful. Then there's a crackle, which confirms you're sat right in front of the stonkingly impressive V10, and things settle back to a mildly raucous idle.

    And if you think that's enough to get you going, wait till you press the 'loud button', in the shape of the sports exhaust.

    Yup, it's another option, but believe me, it'll be the best £1800 you've ever spent. Not only does it open up all four tailpipes to deliver maximum aural delight, but on a cross-country blast, every lift-off from the accelerator as we approached a tight corner was greeted by exhilarating popping and crackling as the gearbox automatically downshifted.

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    And while Audi might have hoped for wall-to-wall November sunshine for the launch, instead we had 24-hours of torrential rain. But that merely emphasised how brilliant the grip is from the latest incarnation of quattro.

    It's easy to find yourself approaching the next corner at silly speeds, especially when you're enjoying the delights of the 'manual-change' paddles behind the steerage wheel. But never fear: there's massive deceleration from the brakes, and before you know it, your through that bend spearing forward in search of the next test.

    And don't think the new R8 is all about super performance. Flick the settings out of Dynamic mode into Comfort, and the R8 becomes your favourite, cute little poodle, all relaxed and at ease — as it glides its way serenely back through the gearbox — poised and perfect for everyday use as you tootle to the shops.

    Just don't go to the supermarket planning on buying your month's groceries: like all supercars, stowage space is at a premium. Ok, it's no worse than, say, that of a Porsche 911 Turbo S, but let's just say you need to plan carefully exactly what you're hoping to take with you if you're thinking about a weekend away.

    That said, such debates are an exceedingly small price to pay for having the Audi R8 Plus sat proudly in the garage.

    So: what's the verdict? Remember the Porsche 911 Turbo S I mentioned? Well the Audi's faster! It's also around £10k cheaper than the 911.

    If you just happen to be in the market for a new supercar, buy the Audi R8 V10 Plus: you won't be disappointed.

    Related: Audi — We will be UK premium leader

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    Jim McGill


    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £134,500 / £153,650
    Engine / Power: 5204cc V10, petrol; 7spd dual-clutch automatic / 602bhp
    How fast?: 0-62mph 3.2sec; / Max 205mph
    How big/heavy?: L4426mm W1940mm H1240mm / 1630kg
    How thirsty/CO2?: 23.0mpg combined / 287g/km CO2
    InsGP/Road tax: n/a / n/a
    Alternatives: Porsche 911 Turbo S, Lamborghini Huracan

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