Skip to Content
  • Subscribe
  • Reviews
  • News
  • Features
  • Buyer's Guide

2018 Audi R8

Starting at $141,250

2018 audi r8

Select a year

  • Highs Supercar appearance, simple but stylish cabin, intoxicating V-10 engine.
  • Lows Gas-swilling powertrain, limited cargo space, less-than-supercar handling.
  • Verdict Supercar looks and speed meet luxury-car comfort.
By Drew Dorian


As halo cars go, the Audi R8 is a spectacular one—its howling V-10 engine provides stomach-punch acceleration that lesser cars with the four-ringed badge can only dream about. It's an aspirational performance car, but it's surprisingly easy to live with and drive daily thanks to a comfortable cabin, a silky ride, and plenty of standard luxury features. Buyers won't find it particularly fuel efficient and driving enthusiasts may grow disappointed with the R8's handling characteristics once the thrill of ten-cylinder power wears off. Still, the R8 is a deeply desirable and scintillatingly styled supercar that will turn heads forever, especially when that V-10 sings its sweet, sweet siren song.

What's New for 2018?

Audi made some slight revisions to the R8's engine for 2018 that have resulted in small reductions in power output but claimed acceleration times are unchanged. Other than that, the R8 receives a host of other updates for 2018, not least of which is the addition of the 602-hp R8 Spyder V10 Plus and a new entry-level rear-wheel-drive V10 RWS model. Audi's smartphone interface is now standard across the range and allows users to control compatible devices using the car's MMI infotainment system. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard features on all R8 models. Audi is skipping the 2019 model year as it prepares a more thorough refresh for 2020.

Pricing and Which One to Buy

The R8 is a car for showing off, and although the coupe model is still mighty eye-catching, the convertible Spyder really kicks the look-at-me quotient up a notch. The Spyder adds a lot of coin to the R8 coupe's entry price, but we think it's worth it to have the option of top-down motoring in this three-season supercar. Every R8 comes well equipped with luxuries such as automatic climate control, heated nappa leather seats, and a 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit digital gauge display with navigation. Regardless of how you outfit it, we'd recommend taking advantage of Audi's European delivery program, which allows buyers to pick up their car in Germany and use it to tour Europe for up to fifteen days before handing it back over for shipment to the United States.

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

Likes: Breathtaking acceleration, fantastic-sounding engine, surprisingly compliant ride.
Dislikes: Predictable but somewhat boring handling, lengthy braking distances, harsh shifts from automatic transmission.

The R8's V-10 engine is offered in two strengths, both potent enough to knock the wind out of unsuspecting passengers and both capable of searing your eardrums with their otherworldly exhalations. The base coupe and the Spyder convertible get 532 horsepower to play with; the V10 Plus coupe and Spyder are upgraded to 602 horsepower. Each R8 comes with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that changes gears quickly. It's not exactly the smoothest gearbox, however, and occasionally it downshifts too abruptly and perhaps too deeply, causing neck-snapping acceleration followed by an almost immediate upshift to a higher gear.

The base R8 comes standard with an adaptive suspension, while V10 Plus models are fitted with a more aggressive, fixed-damper setup. Both soak up bumps admirably and provide a comfortable ride that you could tolerate without fatigue on long trips. The R8's supple nature comes with a drawback, however: In full-attack mode, it simply doesn't handle corners as confidently as its rivals, and sometimes it feels more unsettled than you'd expect from a supercar. The standard steering setup is direct and relays information from the road to the driver's hands with only a mild filter.

Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

An economical choice it is not. But does that really matter? For the record, all-wheel-drive R8 variants, regardless of roof type or horsepower rating, have the same EPA estimates for fuel economy—but they aren't impressive. In fact, the R8's fuel economy is so low that all buyers must pay a $1300 gas-guzzler tax as part of the sale price. So be it.

Interior, Infotainment, and Cargo

Likes: Trick digital gauge display, supportive leather seats, sophisticated infotainment interface.
Dislikes: Wide blind spots in convertible model, only single-zone climate control offered, limited cargo room.

Minimalism never felt so luxurious. Relocating the infotainment display that usually resides high in the center of the dashboard to the instrument cluster provides a refreshingly simple layout and lets the beautifully sculpted sport seats and high-resolution digital gauge cluster take center stage in the R8's cockpit. Audi allows for quite a bit of customization when it comes to interior colors and textures: black, gray, brown, and red leather are offered in either a flat or quilted pattern and with either matching or contrasting stitching. Overall, it's a beautifully executed cockpit with easy-to-reach controls including slick features such as the ignition button located on the steering wheel.

The excellent Virtual Cockpit gauge cluster does double duty, displaying both instrumentation and the MMI infotainment system, and it feels as futuristic here as it does in Audi's other cars such as the A4 and the TT. High-resolution navigation is standard, and the system can be controlled via voice commands, steering-wheel-mounted controls, or a clickwheel on the center console. An onboard 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot is also standard; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are too.

No one buys a supercar for its practicality, and the R8 doesn't buck the segment trend by offering massive cargo capacity. In our testing, the R8 provided space for just one of our carry-on suitcases, so pack light.

Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

Supercars are rarely examined by our nation's safety agencies since they sell in such low volumes; indeed, the R8 has not been tested so its crashworthiness is unknown. Audi offers little in the way of driver-assistance features, but the R8 coupe comes equipped with a full complement of airbags. Key safety features include:

  • Standard automatic high-beam headlamps
  • Standard front and rear parking sensors

Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

Audi's warranty coverages for the R8 match or exceed all rivals except for the Acura NSX. The deal is sweetened with a complimentary scheduled maintenance visit within the first year of ownership.

  • Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
  • Complimentary maintenance is covered for 1 year or 10,000 miles


audi a3 sedan euro spec
2023 A3
Starting at $35,995
C/D Rating
2023 audi a4 sedan
2023 A4
Starting at $40,995
C/D Rating
2023 audi a4 allroad
2023 A4 Allroad
Starting at $46,595
C/D Rating
2023 audi a5 front exterior
2023 A5
Starting at $47,295
C/D Rating
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Hearst Autos - A Part of Hearst Digital Media

A Part of Hearst Digital Media

We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

©Hearst Autos, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Do Not Sell My Personal Information