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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
39500 331821 GBP
  • Audi R8


    Used condition, Franchise approved,

    • Mileage: 30000 mi
    • Engine size: 5204
    For sale
    Porsche Sheffield
  • Audi R8

    £108,950 £108,950

    Variant name:SPYDER V10 QUATTRO ,Derivative:MK2 (R8 2) ,Variant: SPYDER V10 QUATTRO Staggering Saving Of Circa £55000 On List New With This Incredible Specification Due in stock we have a superb Audi R8. The standard specification on this car is comprehensive but it is the factory ordered optional extras that stand this car apart. With this specification the list price new is in excess of £165000. Factory options include but are not limited to 20 inch alloy wheels 10 spoke y matt titan, Ceramic brakes, Carbon fibre exterior pack, Carbon fibre interior pack, Gloss Carbon door mirrors, Dynamic steering, Exclusive Carbon pack, Electric front seats with lumbar driver memory, Illuminated door sill trims, Leather pack with contrast stitch extended full, LED headlights Audi laser lights, Leather steering wheel sports 4 satellites, Magnetic ride, Phone box connectivity, Reverse assist camera, Smart phone interface, Gloss carbon side blades, Sports exhaust, Bang and Olufsen sound system, Only 4000 miles. Save Circa £55000 on list price new. A super car and one of the highest specification R8 ever to leave the factory.

    • Year: 2017
    • Mileage: 4652 mi
    • Engine size: 5.2
    For sale
    £108,950 £108,950
  • Audi R8

    £57,995 £57,995

    Variant name:Spyder ,Variant: Spyder 4.2 FSI quattro 430 PS R tronic Forged aluminium alloy wheels, 5 twin-spoke design, high-gloss polished, 8.5Jx19 at front, 11J x 19 at rear, Stainless steel pedals, 235/35 R 19 tyres at front and 305/30 R 19 tyres at rear, Fine Nappa leather, Light package, Extended Fine Nappa leather package - Black, Satellite Navigation system - DVD-based, 19" '5-arm double-spoke' design alloy wheels in high-gloss finish with 19" x 8.5J 235/35 front tyres and 19" x 11J 305/30 rear tyres, Voice dialogue system, Lighting package, Audi Music Interface (AMI), Audi hill-hold assist, Audi magnetic ride, Interior mirror with automatic anti-glare action, with light/rain sensor, Full leather package, Tyre pressure monitoring system, Navigation DVD (Europe, if digitised), Navigation system plus with MMI operating logic, Audi Parking System Advanced, Radio/navigation system, Cruise control, Bang & Olufsen sound system

    • Year: 2011
    • Mileage: 11871 mi
    • Engine size: 4.2
    For sale
    £57,995 £57,995
  • Audi R8

    €331,821(£0) €331,821(£0)

    Variant: COUPE V10 PLUS 5.2FSI 610HP QUATTRO S-TRONIC 2DR Exterior Colour: Quantum Grey Interior Colour: Black with Solar Orange Equipped Options: 20" 10 Spoke Gloss Black Alloy, Titanium Black Styling Pack, Audi Exclusive Air Vents, Audi Exclusive Leather Seats, Audi Exclusive Seatbacks in Orange, Extended Leather Interior Pack, Alcantara Luggage Compartment, Alcantara Parcel Shelf, Alcantara Headlining, Floor Mats with Leather Piping, Napa Leather Sills, Bang & Olufsen Sound, Garage Opening (HomeLink), Reverse Camera,Audi Phone Box, Audi Exclusive Paint. Standard Equipment: quattro® all-wheel-drive, Sport suspension, Audi Drive Select, Audi Cylinder-on-demand, Start-Stop system with recuperation, Ceramic Disc Brakes, Grey brake calipers, Sideblades in Gloss Carbon, Single-frame radiator grille with honey-comb design in Gloss Anthracite grey, Front spoiler lip in Gloss Carbon and large air inlets in gloss Anthracite black, Rear diffuser insert in Gloss Carbon and air outlets in gloss Anthracite black, Large fixed rear spoiler in Carbon, R8 Performance Steering Wheel, LED headlights, LED rear lights,High Beam Assist,Sport Seats in Fine Nappa Leather, Seat Heating, MMI Navigation Plus, Audi Virtual Cockpit, Audi Music Interface, Bluetooth interface.

    • Year: 2018
    • Mileage: 60 mi
    • Engine size: 5.2
    For sale
    €331,821(£0) €331,821(£0)