Audi R8 review – design

This is where the R8 falls down, as the second take on the original R8’s innovative aesthetic is contrived and sometimes awkward

Evo rating
from £128,200
  • Drivetrain, performance, dynamics
  • Not as pretty as the original

The original Audi R8 didn’t just redefine the everyday mid-engined supercar in 2007, it also represented a new and brave design direction that has even now remained largely missing from Audi’s other models. Design elements such as the slat vents below the front and rear lights and that iconic side blade made the R8 distinctive and interesting from a distance.

The current model, now having had a further facelift after the original redesign, maintains versions of those elements, but in the process has adopted the fussier design language seen elsewhere in the Audi range. The front end’s aggressive openings and those three (fake) slip vents under the bonnet shut line are now found on everything from an A1 to the gargantuan RS Q8, making the R8 feel less bespoke, and more Audi.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

This second-generation R8 also split up the side blade, which is still able to be customised, but has lost much of the impact that made the original such a unique design element. Bigger, delicately spoked 20-inch wheels, lots of additional carbon on the sills, wings and bootlid, and those pesky black badges are all available on the options list too, if that’s your jam.


Most Popular

BMW 4 Series

2020 BMW 4-series revealed – new coupe range topped by 369bhp M440i

The new 4-series Coupe is bigger, faster and sportier, but that’s not what people are talking about
2 Jun 2020

The best four-cylinder engines ever

We've gathered a selection of our very favourite four-pots ever produced
27 May 2020
Porsche 911 Targa

2020 Porsche 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design edition revealed

Porsche reveals new 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design edition chock-full of retro touches
1 Jun 2020
Suzuki Swift Sport

Mild-hybrid Suzuki Swift Sport goes on sale

More money, less performance for latest Swift Sport may be a hard sell
1 Jun 2020