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Audi R8: Buying guide and review (2007-2015)

Audi R8: Buying guide and review (2007-2015) Classic and Performance Car
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The Audi R8 arrived on the motoring scene in 2007, and redefined the affordable supercar category. The usual Audi sports car recipe of front-mounted turbocharged engine and four-wheel drive was effective, but had not troubled the opposition much in terms of driving dynamics. Moments of genius such as the original Quattro and the B7 RS4 were few and far between, however with the introduction of the R8 that all changed. Here was a junior supercar which could not only match the class leaders but also beat them at their own game. 

Initially available with a dry sump version of the RS4’s 414bhp V8, the rear biased four-wheel drive system and mid-engined layout gave the Audi’s new player the handling and pace to back up its stunning looks. Audi gave the opposition a bit of time to regroup before releasing the 518bhp 5.2-litre V10, which took the fight to Ferrari and turbocharged Porsches. Being part of the VW group means that the R8 shares components with its more flamboyant Lamborghini Gallardo cousin, especially in V10 guise, as well as some of the best bits from the Audi performance parts bin.

The first generation R8 has done wonders for the Audi brand, a well-balanced chassis and a pair of great engines have allowed it to shake up the junior super car establishment. The R8’s mix of performance and affordability is still as relevant today as it was at its launch.
Which one to buy?
Available as a manual V8 at launch the R8 offerings swelled out to include a Lamborghini derived V10, a convertible and numerous limited edition models.

Most UK models were available with a manual gearbox as standard, and a six-speed R Tronic gearbox as an option. This R Tronic was criticised by some for its low speed jerkiness but came into its own when pressing on, but the 2012 face-lift saw the introduction of an improved seven-speed R-tronic gearbox, as well as some external and internal changes intended to freshen up the design. 

A number of limited edition models were sold such as the R8 GT which was a lighter more focussed R8 V10, as well as the R8 V10 Plus and LMX. These all featured ever increasing power outputs making sure to keep just a few horsepower below their Lamborghini stable mates. These are the ones to have if owning the ultimate first generation R8 is your aim.

Most people will automatically assume the V10 is the one to have, but the V8 is plenty fast enough accompanied by a satisfyingly deep exhaust note and while the V10 is appreciably faster in a straight line you would need a long empty stretch of road close to home to make the most of the extra power on a regular basis.

Optional ceramic brakes are worth having if you plan to do regular track days, otherwise the standard disc and brake setup is more than up to the job. The other option that is a must both on and off the track are the magnetic ride shock absorbers which improve ride comfort while keeping the car planted in the twisties.

Performance and specs

2008 Audi R8 V8 Coupe
Engine 4163cc, 32valve DOHC V8 
Power 414bhp @ 7800rpm 
Torque 317lb ft @ 4500-6000rpm
Top speed 187mph
0-62mph 4.6 seconds 
Fuel consumption 19.3 mpg 
Gearbox Six-speed manual/six- or seven-speed semi–automatic 
Dimensions and weight
Wheelbase 2650mm
Length 4431mm
Width 1904mm
Height 1252mm
Weight 1560kg
Common problems

Parts are still widely available and while servicing charges are not the same as they would be for your A4 they are on the lower end of the scale in supercar terms. Reliability has been very good on the R8 and there are precious few issues to be concerned about.

• A recall was carried out on cars built between April 2009 and August 2011 for a fuel pipe that was located too close to a heat shield. Check that your car has had this checked out if it was built during this time frame.

• Servicing can be either time or mileage based, except on the GT models which have fixed service intervals. Avoid cars with patchy service histories as despite their inherent reliability, missed services can cause problems.

• Some owners have noted that second gear on manual cars can suffer from crunching synchros if the gearboxes have been abused. 

• V10 models tend to have higher running costs especially if the carbon ceramic brakes need replacing, not to mention the fuel consumption increase over the V8 cars.
Model history

2007: Audi R8 coupe launched. Initially available in coupe body style and 414bhp V8
2009: R8 V10 released. 5.2 litre V10 produces 525bhp. LED headlights, larger brakes and updated body styling differentiate the models
2010: R8 V10 Spyder introduced with same mechanicals as V10 coupe and soft top electronically folding roof. R8 GT launched featuring an uprated 552bhp V10 engine with a 100kg reduction in weight
2011: R8 V8 Spyder introduced with electronic soft top folding roof and a slightly uprated 428bhp V8. R8 GT Spyder launched with same mechanicals as R8 GT. R8 V8 limited edition for UK market introduced with 100 units built. Bespoke paint and trim options including R8 GT alloy wheels mark this model out
2012: Major facelift carried out on all R8 models with changes to LED headlights to all models, uprated 7 speed S Tronic gearbox and new bumpers and trim. R8 V10 plus model available in coupe body style featured uprated 542bhp V10 engine and model specific interior and exterior trim items.

Most UK face-lifted models were 2013 cars with orders being taken from mid 2012. Limited edition R8 LMX V10 introduced with only 99 units built. Power was up to 562bhp and featured a first-for-Audi laser head lighting technology. Limited edition versions of V10 models built for Chinese and US markets
Owners clubs, forums and websites
• www.r8talk.com
• www.audiownersclub.com/forums
• www.audiownersclub.co.uk
Summary and prices

There is a huge range of cars to choose from, the recent release of the new R8 may have something to do with that, but the older generation cars are still in demand and residual values are generally excellent.
You won’t see much change from £40,000, even for one of the earliest V8 models. Mileages can be high in supercar terms, but this should not dissuade you from a well looked after example. V10 models start at £60,000 and R8 GTs are still around the £100,000 mark.
Whether you settle for an early V8 or the last of the line V10 Spyder, the first gen R8 is a great supercar with the looks to match. Throw in the practical aspects of reliability and reasonable running costs, and you can have your supercar cake and eat it.
Words: John Tallodi
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Last updated: 10th Dec 2015
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Audi R8
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  • AUDI R8 5.2 FSI Quattro 2dr R Tronic

    £66,999 £66,999

    Type: Used Year: 2011 Make: AUDI Model: R8 Trim: 5.2 FSI Quattro 2dr R Tronic Body: Coupe Trans: Manual Mileage: 13210 Engine Size: 5204 Ext Color: SEPANG BLUE

    • Mileage: 13210 mi
    • Engine size: 5204
    For sale
    N K Motor Group
    01332426688 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • Audi R8

    £74,990 £74,990

    Climate Control, Bluetooth, Colour SatNav, Full Leather, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Parking Sensors, Electric Mirrors, Power Hood, Electric Windows, Trip Computer, Multiple Airbags, Electric Seats, Stereo, Auto Lighting, Stability Control, Heated Seats, Remote Central Locking, Alloy wheels, 4x4, Full service history

    • Mileage: 23000 mi
    • Engine size: 5204
    For sale
  • Audi R8

    £116,990 £116,990

    Bluetooth, Cruise Control, Parking Camera, Parking Sensors, Heated Seats, DAB Radio, Bang & Olufsen, LED Lights, Powerfold Door Mirrors, Satellite Navigation, Sports Exhaust, Sports Seats, 4x4 +++FREE NATIONAL DELIVERY+++Part Exchange Welcome - Finance Available on Request - Subject to Status + Company Directors' Packages Available - All Vehicle Professionally Valeted and Ready for Collection- Audi R8 5.2 FSI V10 Plus Quattro S Tronic 7 Speed Automatic registered February 2016 (65) finished in Ara Blue with Rotor Grey and Black Leather interior, Carbon Exterior and Interior Trim, Bang & Olufsen Surround Sound System, Comfort and Sound Package, Reversing Camera, Carbon Ceramic Brakes, Switchable Sports Exhaust, Heated Seats, Leather Multifunction Steering Wheel, Electric Height Adjustment for both Sports Seats, Keyless Entry and Go, Powerfold Door Mirrors, LED Headlamps with Dynamic Turn Signals, LED Tail Lights, Electronic Cruise Control, Park Distance Control in Front and Rear, Multifunction Display with Freely Programmable Instrument Cluster, 20 Inch Y Spoke Anthracite Alloys, Satellite Navigation, Bluetooth, DAB Radio, CD Player with SD Slots and SIM slot, USB interface, Start/stop, Alcantara Headlining, High-beam Control.

    • Mileage: 11000 mi
    • Engine size: 5204
    For sale
  • Audi R8

    £45,900 £45,900

    Variant name:Coupe ,Variant: 4.2 FSI Quattro 2dr R Tronic Multi award-winning prestige car dealership John Holland is delighted to offer for sale this beautifully presented Audi R8 4.2 V8 Quattro Coupe. Finished In Phantom Black with Extended Black Leather Upholstery, Alcantara Roof Lining and Piano Black Interior Inlays, This stunning example comes with a Great Specification to include, 19" Graphite Double Spoke Alloy Wheels with Black Calipers, Mag Ride, Satellite Navigation Plus, Multi Function Flat Bottom Leather Steering Wheel, Paddle Shift, Cruise Control, Climate Control, 6 x CD with Bang & Olufsen Surround Sound, Front and Rear Parking Sensors, Auto Lights, Xenon Headlights, LED Day Time Running Lights and much more. Also benefiting from a full Service History completed on the 02/08/10 at 2900 miles, 04/10/12 at 4820 miles, 22/10/14 at 8275 miles, 27/11/15 at 16688 miles, 19616 miles and again on the 18/07/17. Supplied with 2 keys and all its original owners manuals and wallet. John Holland has been established for over 40 years supplying a premium level of service in the sale of sports, prestige and collectors cars. We have a team of experienced buyers who hand pick our cars from all parts of the uk so you can buy with confidence all vehicles are HPI Clear and prepared to the highest standard, full dealer facilities available call the sales team for further information.

    • Year: 2008
    • Mileage: 24025 mi
    • Engine size: 4.2
    For sale
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