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- Highs Eye-catching styling, minimalist cabin still feels luxurious, roaring V-10 powertrain.
- Lows Not a fuel-efficient choice, cargo space is miniscule, handling isn't as sharp as expected.
- Verdict The R8 wears a supercar wardrobe but is as approachable and easy to drive as any other Audi.
As Audi's top model, the R8 sports car boasts a howling 602-hp V-10 engine just behind its snug two-seat cabin. It shares a lot with the Lamborghini Huracán, but the R8 is less flamboyantly styled. It's also less engaging to drive, but buyers seeking a super car that they can drive daily may find the Audi's refinement appealing. The interior is sparsely equipped, with all infotainment functions handled via the digital gauge cluster, but it's still a comfortable and upscale environment worthy of the R8's steep starting price. More cargo space would be appreciated, but that's not why you buy a car like this. You buy an R8—or its rivals, the Porsche 911 and McLaren 570S—for the fun that comes from driving it.
Where This Vehicle Ranks
What's New for 2022?
The base coupe and Spyder convertible receive a 30-horse boost for 2022. The V-10 now makes 562 horsepower and 406 pound-feet. Both body styles can now be had with a Sport Exhaust package and a Dynamic package. The former is self-explanatory. The latter includes ceramic brakes, unique 20-inch wheels, and upgraded racing seats with nappa leather upholstery.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
For some added flash, we'd suggest going with the Spyder. After all, with the top down, passersby will be able to get a better look at the lucky dog behind the wheel. Choosing between the standard and Performance models is a tougher decision. On the one hand, the 562-hp V-10 provides incredible acceleration and the same bellowing wail as the 602-hp car. On the other hand, rolling up to the next Cars and Coffee event with the ultimate R8 may feel just a bit more awesome.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The R8's V-10 engine is offered in two strengths, both potent enough shake your eardrums with their otherworldly exhalations. The R8's seven-speed dual-clutch automatic isn't the smoothest gearbox. It occasionally downshifts too abruptly, causing neck-snapping acceleration followed by an immediate upshift. The base R8 comes standard with an adaptive suspension, while Performance 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 doesn't handle corners as confidently as its rivals, feeling more unsettled than you'd expect a supercar to be. The standard steering setup is direct and relays information from the road to the driver's hands with sufficient feel.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
An economical choice it is not. Rear-drive models do 14 mpg in the city, 23 mpg on the highway. The all-wheel-drive cars fair even worse: 13 and 20, respectively. Given this poor showing, all buyers must pay a $1700 gas-guzzler tax as part of the sale price. So be it. For more information about the R8's fuel economy, visit the EPA's website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Minimalism never felt so luxurious. By having the instrument cluster double as the infotainment screen, Audi provides a refreshingly simple layout and lets the beautifully sculpted sport seats and high-resolution digital gauge display 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 with matching or contrast stitching. Overall, it's a beautifully executed cockpit with easy-to-reach controls, including the ignition button located on the steering wheel. No one buys a supercar for its practicality, and the R8 doesn't buck the segment trend by offering real cargo capacity. In our testing, it provided space for just one carry-on suitcases. Pack light.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The excellent Virtual Cockpit gauge cluster does double duty here, displaying both instrumentation and the MMI infotainment system. 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 buttons, or a clickwheel on the center console. An onboard 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot is standard, as are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Audi offers little in the way of driver-assistance features, but the R8 coupe comes equipped with a full complement of airbags. For more information about the R8's crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automatic high-beams
- Standard front and rear parking sensors
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Audi's R8 matches or exceeds all rivals in terms of warranty coverage except for the Acura NSX.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
2022 Audi R8 Performance
Vehicle Type: mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 2-passenger, 2-door coupe or convertible
Base: Coupe, $151,895; Convertible, $164,095
DOHC 40-valve V-10, aluminum block and heads, port and direct fuel injection
Displacement: 318 in3, 5204 cm3
Power: 562 hp @ 8100 rpm
Torque: 406 lb-ft @ 6400 rpm
7-speed dual-clutch automatic
Wheelbase: 104.3 in
Length: 174.4 in
Width: 76.4 in
Height: 48.7 in
Passenger Volume: 50 ft3
Cargo Volume: 4–8 ft3
Curb Weight (C/D est): 3600–3700 lb
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST)
60 mph: 3.4–3.5 sec
100 mph: 7.5¬–7.6 sec
1/4-Mile: 11.5–11.6 sec
Top Speed: 200–204 mph
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 17/14/23 mpg