With sophisticated four-wheel-drive systems, launch control and rapid-shifting gearboxes, R8s record stunning 0-62mph times – 3.4sec for the base model and 3.1sec for the Performance, each a tenth quicker than its pre-facelift variant. The RWD is the slowest out of the block, but will still hit 62mph in 3.7sec – on par with that of a basic Porsche 911 Carrera S and 0.2sec ahead of the more expensive Aston Vantage.
Audi also quotes top speeds of 201mph and 205mph respectively; these are genuine 200mph supercars. The Spyder versions reach the aforementioned benchmarks just 0.1sec slower and have 1mph slower top speeds. Although the Performance offers higher performance on paper with a significant increase in power, the result isn’t that noticeable on the road. You’re never left wanting for more speed or quicker acceleration in the non-Performance, as the R8 is exceptionally fast in either guise.
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The scintillating V10 creates such a vibrant environment in the cabin that ultimate performance is forgotten about. It sounds spectacular even with the standard exhaust, although there is an optional sports exhaust.
Being normally aspirated rather than turbocharged the R8’s V10 engine does need to be worked hard to deliver its best, but that isn’t a criticism by any means. In fact, hearing the exhaust note build to a crescendo as the rev needle swings past 8500rpm just once is enough to make you regret the industry’s shift towards turbocharging.
The R8 might lack the thumping torque output of turbocharged rivals, such as the Porsche 911 Turbo S and Ferrari 488 GTB, but with so much power on tap it never feels anything less than frantically quick in a straight line. The Performance, in particular, is still very capable of terrifying driver and passenger alike with its sheer speed.