2017 Audi R8 Coupe V10 Plus Reviews & Specs – Audi’s luscious R8 is beautiful to behold, easy to live with, and simply marvelous to drive—everything you’d want in a sports car. The base engine is a 5.2-liter 540-hp V-10; the V10 Plus makes 610 hp. All-wheel drive is standard, as is a seven-speed automatic. The handsome interior features a 12.3-inch configurable display in lieu of traditional gauges; there is also 4G LTE connectivity and Wi-Fi hotspot capability. Only a coupe is offered for now; expect the Spyder version in spring 2017.
The 2017 Audi R8 Coupe V10 Plus supercar – and did a similar job that the NSX did for Honda two decades ago. It’s a brilliant sports car, available in V8 and V10 form, as an R8 coupé and an R8 roadster. For more information on the Audi R8, click on our further stories on the links below.
Audi blew us away when it launched its first supercar in 2007. Who would have guessed that boring old Ingolstadt, with its expertise in front- and four-wheel drive saloons and estates, would go on to build a stonking supercar that could take the fight to the 911 and junior Aston Martins and Lambos? But they did, and some. Arriving first was the 4.2 V8, mounted amidships under those evocative aluminium side blades and driving all four wheels. Yet the R8 never felt 4wd, with a nimble playfulness that belied its Quattro traction.
Best of all was a wonderful exposed alloy gearlever, click-clacking around the gate for all the world like it’s a junior Ferrari. Which in many regards, it is. Audi went on to launch a robotised manual ‘box, but we’ve always preferred the stick shift. Ditto with the engines, for the rampant Sant’Agata-sourced V10 was certainly ballistic, but we somehow always kept a soft spot for the V8, which is just more raggable, more of the time. If there is a chink in the 2017 Audi R8 Coupe V10 Plus armour, it’s the cabin.
The interior of this supercar simply isn’t up to scratch at this level, feeling like an A8 of a dozen years ago. Some of the infotainment and heating controls just don’t gel. But frankly we’ll forgive such foibles for such a wonderfully styled and engineered fun machine.
‘Everyday supercar.’ A contradiction in terms, surely? Like diesel hot hatch or, ahem, our sister title Practical Classics. But if any car fits the supercar for every occasion brief, it’s the Audi R8; all-wheel drive for all weathers, windows you can see out of, and the plushest of cabins with seats an inviting crossbreed between racing buckets and overstuffed armchairs.
It even has a decent turning circle. If the R8 truly can be an everyday supercar, we’ll soon know, for this one really is going to be driven every day.
Perhaps concerned about the imminent withdrawal symptoms I’ll suffer when my season running the Radical SR1 comes to an end, the editor has compassionately placed the R8 under my care for its time with us. But it’ll spend many of its days based here at CAR HQ, so keeping its keys to myself is an unlikely dream.
There’s no longer such thing as a V8-engined R8, the latest generation driven solely by the same wondrous naturally aspirated 5.2-litre V10 as the closely related Lamborghini Huracan, with either 533bhp as standard or 602bhp in ‘V10 Plus’ trim. Our R8 is the latter, £15k more than the standard model with carbon-ceramic brakes, fixed rear wing and a 40kg weight reduction to go with its extra 69bhp.
Since the standard V10 Plus Sport suspension is better suited to smooth European tarmac than Blighty’s blemishes, we’ve added variable Magnetic Ride dampers (£1600) and swapped the uncompromising buckets usually fitted to Plus models for regular sports seats, with pneumatic bolsters (£475).
We have splashed out on the sport exhaust (£1800), the better to appreciate that V10 to full effect, a larger 73-litre fuel tank (£100), and the £650 Driver Assistance Pack (cruise control and reversing camera – both, stingily, not standard), along with £3k’s worth of laser headlights (complete with a moderately concerning radiation warning sticker inside the boot).
We’ve deliberately avoided the feedback-blunting variable-rate Dynamic Steering option, and I rather wish we hadn’t specced Vegas Yellow paint (although R8 orders suggest many customers disagree). Together with a few other garnishes, that adds up to £149,645 – still cheaper than a Huracan.
If the 10-year-old me knew I’d one day be able to drive a bright yellow V10 supercar nearly every day I’d probably have spontaneously combusted with excitement. Can the R8 live up to a lifetime’s anticipation? So far I’m undecided. When we ran a Lamborghini Huracan on the long-term fleet for six glorious months last year I fell completely under its spell, yet on first impressions I’m struggling to feel quite so passionate about the R8. Which is silly, because they’re essentially the same car, and if anything the R8’s set-up gives it more involving handling.
But I’m not convinced by the styling – there’s something oddly unbalanced about the thickening shoulder line dividing the side intakes, and I can’t get the notion out of my head that it looks like a supercar on its way to a fancy dress party wearing an Audi TT costume. More fundamental than that though, there’s something a little aloof about its character; it feels almost too polished, somehow, not raw enough to be truly exciting. Does that mean I’m shallow and easily swayed by looks and charisma? Probably.
It’s early days, though. The R8’s arrived with only 112 miles on the clock, so self-imposed running-in reins are bridled to the V10, and the lengthiest journeys I’ve been able to take on so far have been traffic-jam-riddled motorway slogs. More thorough driving observations another time, then, but the R8 is clearly a multi-stringed bow.
Its ride comfort would shame many saloon cars (although it has an oddly springy gait at times in Comfort mode, like the subtly bouncy feel of a trampoline beneath your feet), for starters, and the seats likewise. There’s no trace of the symptoms of a condition every Monte Carlo-based chiropractor must be familiar with called ‘Lamborghini back.’ The V10 sounds serene on the move, although the theatrical, window-rattling burst of revs that accompanies every early morning cold start isn’t always appreciated by my housemates.
So, to recap the hypothesis: an R8 V10 can function as day-to-day transport. But if so, can it still thrill enough to be considered a supercar in its truest sense? We’ve got the next few months to valiantly endeavour to prove and/or disprove both points. It’s going to be fun finding out.
2017 Audi R8 Coupe V10 Plus Specs
Magnetic Ride dampers (£1600). Standard V10 Plus Sport suspension a little abrupt; continuously adapting adaptive dampers smooth things over
Gloss carbon engine bay trim (£2950). Extravagant, yes, but one of the last great naturally aspirated engines needs showing off properly
Sound and Comfort Pack (£3450). Extra leather for seats, doors and dash, pneumatic bolsters and a 550W B&O hi-fi to outshout the V10
LED headlights with Laser Light (£3000). Laser diodes bring more daylight on high beam. A supercar with lasers – nothing cooler, surely?
There are things we’ll miss about that first R8: The six-speed manual and its aluminum gated shifter. The sub-$120,000 base price for the V-8 model. The imposing beauty of its timeless design. The original R8 earned its place in automotive history, but this second-generation car is nearly as important as a marker in the evolution of the species. Its naturally aspirated V-10 becomes even more rare and more special the longer it hangs around.