The Audi R8 V10 Plus is the latest incarnation of Audi's iconic two-seater sports car. The new V10 plus boasts a much improved gearbox, carbon ceramic brakes and the most incredible-looking turn indicators we have ever seen on a vehicle. It also implements some weight saving on the seats and side blades, which are both carbon fibre.
For the time being, it is the best version of the R8 money can buy. Why exactly? For the most part it's down to the gearbox. The previous six-speed robotised manual found in conventional R8s has been replaced with a super-quick, dual-clutch, seven-speed S-Tronic system.
Just like the Ferrari 458 or McLaren MP4-12C, this gearbox shifts faster than you can blink and utterly changes the driving dynamic of the R8. The R8 V10 was the ultimate daily driver supercar, but now - thanks to the new dual-clutch system - not only is it better cruising in auto, but it also rivals the more expensive Ferrari and McLaren for responsiveness and performance on the track.
From our time spent in the R8 V10 Plus we were blown away with how formidable a car it was. Getting in and out is easy, visibility is good, except for out of the back and the driving position and light steering gives just the right amount of feedback without making the car difficult to handle at slow speed.
Leave the V10 Plus in auto and it is as relaxing and comfortable as a saloon. The lack of the clever magnetic ride suspension system found on other R8s which smooths out bumps isn't a huge issue either. The engine only really starts to make itself known beyond around 4000 rpm, after which it screams like a proper supercar should, so the cabin is well suited to motorway cruising.
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If you are gentle with the throttle and don't touch the paddles on either side of the wheel, then the R8 V10 Plus really could be a daily driver car. Fun however can be delivered instantly, simply by shifting down and planting your foot. The 540nm of torque from the 5.2 litre V10 is phenomenal and really catches you out the first time you push the R8, especially when compared to how quiet it is when cruising.
As for handling, the V10 doesn't have quite as much of the darty or twitchy feeling you get with some other super cars. Instead you flow between corners, gliding the car on its perfectly balanced throttle. Audi has quickened the steering for the V10 Plus and added some stiffer suspension, but the set-up is still flattering to the inexperienced, rather than being like an intimidating track-ready version of an already fast car.
We actually think it would make a great car in which to learn how to drive on a track, because unlike the Ferrari and McLaren rivals, which can be fairly intimidating, the V10 is just easier to manage. The gearbox is lightning quick and the carbon ceramic brakes stop you at an incredible rate, but never does the car feel like it wants you to drive it like a maniac. Instead it rewards smooth and clean driving with all the poise and grip you could ever want.
Now to the styling: the R8 V10 Plus adds carbon fibre touches to the interior and exterior which save on weight. On top of that, you get a new look set of tail lights that have indicators which sweep and pulse when you are turning left or right. It looks very awesome and further adds to the supercar feel of the R8 V10. Though car might lack some of the outlandish design found elsewhere, there is an understated sense of cool about the R8 which comes across even more when you see it in the flesh.
The R8 continues to be an exciting package. At £127,575 for the S-Tronic V10 Plus model, it undercuts the competition by a fairly big wedge of cash yet is still capable of sending you from 0-60 in just 3.4 seconds. You don't need to splash out on options either as the car comes pretty much fully kitted out in base form, with Audi offering little in the way of tweaking. You get satnav, a great sound system, leather seats and decent luggage space.
Don't forget either that should something go wrong, the R8 can be sent to any Audi dealer for a fix, making maintaining and living with this car easier than the competition. So money saved, easy to maintain, yet with all the supercar credentials you could ever need and finally a gearbox to do the chassis and engine justice. The V10 Plus is an exciting addition to the R8 line.