2010 Audi R8

Oh, wow, this is one sexy car. I drove it only briefly, as I worked late the night I had it, but the advantage was, at 11 p.m., the streets of Ann Arbor were largely deserted, so I had quite a lot of fun driving this ultraexotic car on a very unexotic task: buying a furnace filter from Meijer. There is nothing like getting out of a bright red, $170K, mid-engine exotic in the parking lot of a grocery store at 11 p.m. on a weeknight to make you feel like life is pretty grand.

This R Tronic sequential automatic transmission would not be my choice, but I quickly remembered how to shift it, and the harder you drive the car, the better the transmission responds and the more smoothly it shifts. The V-10 is a gem, and it really does make the R8 significantly more electrifying to drive than the standard V-8 version. Throttle response is immediate, and the soundtrack from behind your head is absolutely intoxicating. As we've reported endlessly about the R8, steering, braking, body control, ride, and general chassis behavior all are pretty much in the top tier of automotive performance circa 2010. Yeah, sure, the Lamborghini Gallardo is more extreme looking and a bit more extreme sounding, but the R8 V-10 is probably a better car to live with day-to-day.

Joe DeMatio, Executive Editor

New Car Research

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