Can we have another one of these for a year? I'd not been in an R8 since our V-8 Four Seasons V-8 model left late last summer, and quickly recalled just how much I loved it.
Of course, this is not quite the same as the R8 that we honored with Automobile of the Year and later enjoyed for more than twelve months. First and foremost, there's another liter and two cylinders worth of power. I actually missed the way the 4.2-liter V-8 growled at lower rpm, as the V-10 sounds docile about town. That problem quickly resolves itself when you stop being docile with the accelerator pedal, which unleashes an angry cacophony mere inches behind your ears. Simply awesome. The added acceleration isn't bad, either, though I wasn't able to put much of it down on our icy roads (as we've discussed before, the R8 hardly sends any power to its front wheels). One can debate the value of this extra power, as it shoots the relatively affordable R8 well past the Porsche 911 Turbo, but if I had $160,000, I'd certainly give the Audi some consideration.
I wouldn't consider the R-Tronic transmission, though. Even if I cared about its theoretical superiority on a racetrack - let me tell you, I don't - it wouldn't be worth all the extra hassle it causes in everyday driving. On two separate occasions, the transmission decided it was in neutral at a stoplight, leading me to pollute two crowded intersections with V-10 exhaust noise. Given how ostentatious one already looks driving around in a red supercar seen in the movie "Ironman," revving needlessly at a light must appear particularly obnoxious and desperate.
Did I mention that it's red? Well, it is. And while that might be a bit too loud for some owners, it does fit with the car's outspoken design. Even after a few years on the market, the R8 still finds plenty of eyeballs focused on it wherever it goes.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor