For an automotive journalist, unless you work for Car & Driver, Road & Track, or one of the really big rags, getting an opportunity to review a supercar is rare. When those occasions come along, you generally get the car for a couple of days, tops. I feel fortunate to have the 2014 Audi R8 V8 Quattro for an entire week.
If you have not had the pleasure of driving a mid-engine car, it is a unique experience. The sound of the engine just behind you when you drive is amazing. Although the R8 comes in a V10, my tester has the 4.2-liter V8 which is rated at 430-horses and feels like a lot more. From a dead stop to 60-miles per hour will take you 4.6 seconds if you don’t hit the rev limiter going through the gears. New for 2014 is a dual-clutch 7-speed automatic, but the one I have is a 6-speed manual. That is the way it should be.
The R8 debuted in 2007 and I will never forget the first on I ever drove. Since then, there have been very few changes until this 2014 came out, and even then they are fairly slight. There is a refreshed front end and some updates and optional features on the interior. They have shaved some weight off the all-aluminum car, and they added some kick-butt taillights. Otherwise, not a lot of change, nor should there be.
The exterior of the R8 just screams “I am fast” and with a 187-mile per hour top speed, there is no arguing that point. 19” 5-spoke wheels look awesome, and when the power rear spoiler is up, the R8 looks very Porsche-like, but with a lower, wider stance. My review vehicle is Ice Silver in color, and it looks awesome. It is a real head turner and one of those cars people can’t resist. Look through the large rear window and you see that massive engine staring at you. Unlike many sports cars out there, visibility is actually quite good from every angle.
Inside, the R8 is very comfortable for me and I am no small guy. The seats are comfortable and the dash layout is terrific. Electronics offered with Audi’s Multi Media Interface seem antiquated, especially the navigation system and stereo controls. The sound system itself sounds great, and the flat bottom 3-spoke steering wheel is exceptional.
This car has diamond-stitched seats made from Nappa leather, and it is full leather throughout. The contrast stitching is very nice, but the diamond-stitching is a little too much for me, especially for an extra $6500. The seats are very comfortable, both front seats are heated, and both have 12-way power adjustments.
Other options on this particular car include: the nav system for $2100, rearview camera and power-folding auto dimming mirrors for $2000. It has the Black Optic package for $1200, that gives you the great wheels and blacked-out exterior features. Illuminated door sills will set you back $900 and you get an iPod cable for $100. The Government tacks on $3000 for the Gas Guzzler Tax.
Speaking of gas mileage, it’s not good, but you should not be concerned about that if you want the R8. It’s rated at 11 miles per gallon in town, but I don’t think it is doing quite that well. It is rated at 20 on the highway, and seems to be doing that.
The R8 is loaded as you would expect, and this car could be a true daily driver. It is not, however, a vacation car. Storage is in the front but extremely limited. You might get an overnight bag in there, but not much more.
Audi’s patented Quattro all-wheel drive system makes this car handle like it is on rails. Cornering is outstanding, electronic stability control eliminates any lean, and when you are not in sport-mode, the car actually rides pretty well. Steering is remarkable.
In the world of supercars, the R8 is exceptional and a true joy to drive. It has a feel very reminiscent of the Ford GT I had a decade ago, which was also a mid-engine car. If you are in the market for a fast sports car over $100,000, this one has to be on your shopping list.
What I liked most: Amazing performance and handling.
What I would change: I would like to see upgrades to the electronics.
MSRP: Base price $114,900, as equipped $133,900.
Fuel Economy: EPA rated at 11 in town/20 on the highway, 14 combined.
Weight: 3583 pounds.
2014 R8 V8 in a few words: Exhilarating supercar you can drive daily.
Warranty: 4 year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper, 1 year/5000 miles of free maintenance, 12 years of corrosion warranty, and 4 years of roadside assistance.
Manufacturers website: http://www.audiusa.com/models/audi-r8
Dealers: We have dealers for Audi in Dallas, Houston, and Sacramento.