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
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.
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.