There are few tasks in life I can perform better than a computer can, but apparently, engaging a clutch and shifting a transmission is one of them.
I agree with both Phil and Joe -- R Tronic is best if treated as a conventional manual transmission, but the gearbox is crippling in congested city traffic, and subsequently removes one of the characteristics I loved about our Four Seasons car: everyday drivability. Without the ability to allow my left foot to modulate power, that characteristic starts to disappear.
The transmission is slightly better on open stretches of road, but it's still somewhat ungainly. Shift it as you would a twin-clutch -- no throttle lift -- and you'll be greeted with a giant burst of power that unsettles the car's posterior. Treat it like a normal manual -- lift off the throttle, squeeze one of the flappy paddles, and press back on again -- and the car shifts smoothly and quickly.
Is a quirky transmission enough to douse my passion for the R8? No. This car is otherwise flawless to drive, and despite its mid-engine supercar status, is remarkably usable as a daily driver. I do also like a few of the new features (LED turnsignals, Alcantara headliner, Bang & Olufsen audio system) that our last R8 did without.
Evan McCausland, Web Producer