<strong>Miles to Date: 32,714
Months in Fleet: Nine
Spring is here, we've removed the R8's snow tires, and the twenty-somethings on our editorial staff have been hogging the car, those greedy guys. It's understandable: for new assistant editor David Zenlea and new road test coordinator Mike Ofiara, the R8 is their introduction to the world of exotic, mid-engine sports cars. Now they're hooked. Here's what they had to say:
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor
I'll do my best not to sound like a school girl gushing about the whatever-brothers-band-group, but...how can you not with a car like this? Turning the key and listening to the starter churn up that V-8 is absolutely intoxicating. Then you pull out into the street and it just casually winds up to about 7000 rpm. Yes, it's pretty special. And, of course, everyone's staring at you. I think someone even whistled at me - me! I'll admit, the attention takes some getting used to, and the Woody Allen-like self consciousness that's hard-wired into every Jewish man's DNA had me wishing at times I could enjoy the exotic car experience in anonymity.
That's one part of the R8's identity. Underneath the fashion model exterior lies a perfectly comfortable, luxurious grand tourer. I especially appreciated the fact that it doesn't seem to sacrifice every ounce of ride quality in return for its ungodly handling. My mother is three weeks removed from a painful surgery but never grimaced from a bump when I gave her a ride around the block. It almost makes you wonder why <a href="http://www.automobilemag.com/new_cars/01/audi/index.html">Audi</a> has so much trouble finding this balance on some of its mainstream cars.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
With my buddy Stimpy riding shotgun, I drove the R8 to Bellaire, Michigan, where we met a few other friends at Schuss Mountain. For a supercar, the R8 is comfortable for such a four-hour drive, although footroom is a bit tight, particularly with the positioning of the dead pedal (far aft, making room for the LF wheel). The on-the-floor height of the seats also makes long sessions a bit tiring. But who cares? I wouldn't hesitate to take this car on a cross-country trip. The looks you get, the always-ready torque, and the drives-like-a-normal-car personality quickly washed away any feelings of discomfort.
Luggage space is decent if you pack both your luggage and the car carefully. My lunchbox cooler fit perfectly on the shelf behind my seat, and my handbag fit on the shelf behind Stimpy's seat, even though he's 6'4". A 24-can case of Labatt Blue fit perfectly on the floor of the front boot, and there was still room for a backpack, a duffle bag, Stimpy's case of fancy poker chips, a couple bags of Doritos, and some hot-dog buns.
Mike Ofiara, Road Test Coordinator
Wow. My first time driving the R8. Wow. This car is nothing short of amazing. It gets celebrity-caliber attention, it has a rock star image, and it has the performance to merit them both.
Over the weekend my fiancé and I took it to an outdoor ice cream shop and the line suddenly went from going down the sidewalk, to going around this car. Everybody wanted a peek. "Whoa, nice car, dude," a boy on a bicycle said to me. I didn't bother telling him that it wasn't really mine.
On the way home, I almost witnessed an accident because the driver of a VW Jetta GLI was looking at me and almost rear-ended the car in front of him at a traffic light.
While I was sitting in a parking spot in a strip mall, an Oxford police officer was looking at the car, then at me as he walked up the sidewalk. Trying to keep his eyes on me, he reached for the door handle to the party store and missed, nearly falling over.
This car has an effect on everyone.
<a href="http://www.automobilemag.com/am/2008/audi/r8/index.html">2008 Audi R8</a> <a href="http://www.automobilemag.com/new_cars/02/coupes/index.html">Coupe</a> Quattro MT6
Base Price: $109,995
As Tested: $131,245
Body Style: 2-door coupe
Accommodations: 2 passengers
Construction: Aluminum "<a href="http://www.automobilemag.com/new_cars/01/audi/index.html">Audi</a> space frame"
Engine: DOHC 32-valve V-8
Displacement: 4.2 liters
Power: 420 hp @ 7800 rpm
Torque: 317 lb-ft @ 4500-6000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Fuel Economy: 13/20/15 mpg (city/highway/combined)
Steering: Electromechanical with speed-dependent power assistance
Turning Circle: 38.7 ft
Suspension: Double wishbone-type (front and rear)
Brakes: Vented discs, ABS
Wheels F/R: 19 x 8.5/19 x 11 in alloy
Tires: Pirelli PZero Rosso
Tire Size: 235/35YR-19 front and 295/30YR-19 rear
Wheelbase: 104.3 in
Track F/R: 64.3/62.8 in
L x W x R: 174.5 x 75.0 x 49.3 in
Weight: 3597 lb
Weight Dist. F/R: 44.2/55.8%
Fuel Capacity: 23.8 gallons
Est. Range: 357 miles
Fuel Grade: 91 octane
ABS and ESP
Chest and knee airbags
Automatic climate control
Power adjustable driver and passenger sports seats
Mugello Blue Pearl Effect paint, $650
Enhanced Leather Package, $5500
Carbon Exterior Package, $5300
Premium Package, $3500
Audi Parking System Advanced
Audi Hill Hold Assist
Bluetooth Phone Preparation
Auto-Dimming Exterior Mirror
Carbon Interior Trim, $2200
Audi Navigation System Plus, $2000
0-60 MPH: 4.2 sec
0-100 MPH: 10.4 sec
1/4-Mile: 12.9 @ 113 mph
30-70 Passing: 5.6 sec
Speed in Gears: 1) 40; 2) 64; 3) 92; 4) 123; 5) 155; 6) 180 mph
Cornering L/R: 1.06/0.98g
70-0 Braking: 148 ft
Peak Braking: 1.15 g