As our year with the Audi R8 nears its end, you might think that the seen-it-all, driven-it-all bunch at 120 East Liberty would have become jaded to its exotic charms. Think again. Even after a long, harsh winter and through a pothole-choked spring, the R8 continues to enthrall the staff, and its effect on bystanders is also undiminished.
The car is getting up there in mileage and has certainly seen far more regular and hard use than a privately owned example (it was already a veteran press car when it arrived at our door). We've noted an intermittent fussiness with the passenger's window switch and the satellite radio reception. And some of the interior trim is showing wear.
Still, not a bad record for a true-blue exotic pressed into daily service.
Senior web editor Phil Floraday: "I love listening to the R8. On Sunday, the weather was perfect for riding around with the windows down and leaving the car a gear or two lower than usual. Bombing around the city in second or third gear above 4000 rpm was awesome. I really doubt the V-10 version will sound this good when it comes to market. Lift off the throttle, get a little compression braking, and it's impossible not to grin."
Web producer Evan McCausland takes the R8 to rural Ada, Ohio. "I'm fairly certain Ada has never seen a car like this. At one point, two teenagers ran up to the Audi at a restaurant stop and seemed on the verge of hyperventilating. One shoved his cell phone in my face to show me the R8 wallpaper he'd installed that morning, and was literally praising God for bringing his dream car before him."
Assistant editor David Zenlea: "It's too bad the R8 is leaving in a few weeks. Even the GT-R, as fast and attention-grabbing as it is, doesn't feel quite as special when you climb inside. Everything about the R8, from the way the starter cranks like crazy for a few seconds before you start it to the gated manual, says exotic. And in that sense (and only that sense) the R8 is a bargain. It offers owners the exclusivity and uniqueness of a true supercar for mere Porsche 911 money."
2008 Audi R8 Coupe Quattro MT6
Base Price: $109,995
As Tested: $131,245
Body Style: 2-door coupe
Accommodations: 2 passengers
Construction: Aluminum "Audi 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