The 2010 Audi R8 5.2 FSI Quattro is powered by the same V10 engine (with minimal tweaks) as the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4. While visibly, this new R8 is almost identical to the traditional 4.2-liter V8-powered R8, the larger engine did necessitate some changes, such as wider “sideblade” air intakes that feed large dual radiators. The R8 5.2 FSI Quattro also has 19-inch wheels. And over one hundred more horsepower.
The mid-engine R8 first made its debut in 2006 on the world auto show circuit, and since then, it has become a popular choice for those who want a supercar, but can’t afford to shell out a million dollars (the new V10 R8 starts at a comparatively low $148,000). While the R8 may seem like a watered-down supercar judging by the price tag, this pony can run with the best of them, hitting 0-to-60 mph in 3.9 seconds and achieving a top speed of over 200 mph.
Across their entire product line, Audi has built a reputation for delivering consistent, high-quality vehicles, and the R8 is no exception, In fact, the idea of consistency has even infiltrated the engine tuning process. Most super cars have portions of their rev range that deliver peak power, while other portions deliver disappointing lows. Not so with the R8. From a dead stop to a 8,700 RPM redline, the V10 has been tuned for consistent, yet powerful output. That output is so regular, in fact, that many driving the vehicle won’t realize how much power the engine is putting out. The throttle response is similar throughout the entire 390 lb-ft torque range.
The engine and power are certainly impressive for the price, but it is the handling that really shines. The mid-engine configuration, when paired with large, sticky tires and Audi’s lauded All Wheel Drive system is the very definition of “match made in Heaven.” When punching through a turn in a high-end Lamborghini, you sometimes feel the car beginning to slip away from you as the sheer power outdoes the handling ability. Not so in the R8. From a gradual turn to a hairpin figure-8, you never feel the slightest bit out of control. Audi has accomplished the feat of making a super car that feels like an extension of your body. Of course, if you feel like fish-tailing through corners you can always initiate the R8′s track mode, which disables the traction control and the ESP (electronic stabilization program).
So what’s the verdict on the R8? This is one of the rare cars where there is really nothing bad to say. The engine is powerful enough to thrill, even though it has less horsepower than other supercar contemporaries. The handling shines. The R8 5.2 FSI Quattro may just be the first car that is practical enough for everyday driving.