With the famous Yas marina f1 circuit, the brand new audi r8 and a full tank of gas, is this the perfect supercar scenario?
comfortable in equal measure, getting that all important balance just right.
Accelerating out of the pit lane, I get to experience at first hand the new 0 to 100 km/h time of 3.2 seconds. But not for long, as I am instantly thrown into one of the trickiest sections of the circuit, a 90-degree left, right, left, left, which is all intrinsically linked.
Get one wrong and all the rest falls apart. The trick is patience, and a late turn in to the first left, which allows the car to get in tight to the first right, allowing a tight approach to the following left. Get that one wrong and all the speed into the fast hotel approach is lost, compromising the overall lap.
Thankfully, the new R8 goes where I point it thanks in part to the electromechanical power steering system
and an optional electronically controlled shock absorber system (Audi Magnetic Ride).
The Audi also brakes without histrionics and with the composure of a car doing far lower speeds. The V10 Plus comes with 380 mm carbon-fibre-reinforced ceramic brakes as standard, which are helped by the Electronic Stabilisation Control (ESC) system, which rounds out the handling properties, especially in fast curves, with torque vectoring, applying minimal braking interventions at the wheels on the inside of a curve.
In the dynamic mode, the system is configured for maximum driving enjoyment. It certainly works as I can feel the car instinctively turning in when I attack the corner.
Audi developed the all-new R8 and the R8 LMS race version simultaneously, and it’s easy to tell. Both have made significant performance gains, thanks to the close cooperation between racecar engineers, motorsport specialists and developers.
The engine of the V10 Plus produces 610 hp and has a maximum engine torque of 560 Nm. Compared to the previous model, power has increased considerably, and the responsiveness of the high-revving (up to 8,700 rpm), naturally aspirated 5.2-litre engine is now even more spontaneous.
Exiting the left and heading towards the ultra-fast triple right in front of the Yas Viceroy’s outdoor dining area, I can feel just
how light the new R8 is. The new V10 plus weighs in at just 1,454 kg, thanks to the new 200 kg Audi Space Frame (ASF).
One of the first things new owners will notice is the incredible sound. The V10 sounds amazing, as the exhaust noise is controlled by an electronic flap, which allows sound through depending on the selected speed and settings.
The key to the section under the hotel is being in the right gear at the right moment. The seven-speed S-tronic system executes lightning-fast gearshifts via a ‘shift-by-wire’ system.
Mid-corner, the new R8 also displays its precise steering with its pivot point seemingly directly under the driver. The grip is incredible and confidence inspiring.
Heading down the side of the hotel, watched by a number of curious spectators on the viewing bridge over the track, I’ve picked up a lot of speed. The double-tonne comes up very quickly indeed. The V10 Plus can do it from a standing start in just 9.9 seconds, and with all that available torque roll on power is very impressive.
Powering out of the second gear final turn and back onto the support pit straight, I head back into the pits to give the car a break and perhaps more importantly give myself time to cool off and think about this new weapon.
What is very clear is that it is an extremely sharp tool in the supercar arena. The original R8 broke so many of the established rules and showed the incumbent builders just what could be done given a blank sheet of paper. This new R8 takes this even further and exceeds all expectations.
If the supercar world wasn’t worried before, it should be now.
Also at Geneva, Lamborghini unveiled the Centenario, which celebrates the centenary of founder Ferruccio Lamborghini’s birth.
Only 20 coupé and 20 roadster versions of the Centenario will be produced and all 40 cars are already sold, at a start price of 1.75 million euros plus tax.
The Centenario continues Lamborghini’s one-off strategy. Using the V12 architecture from the Aventador, the Centenario’s naturally aspirated engine produces 770 hp and powers from 0-100 km/h in 2.8 seconds, and from 0-300 km/h in 23.5 seconds with a top speed of more than 350 km/h. Braking from 100 km/h to standstill is achieved in 30 metres. A monocoque and body in full carbon fibre provide a low weight of 1,520 kg and a weight to power ratio of 1.97 kg/hp.
The car’s aerodynamic design includes an extending rear wing providing more downforce at high speeds. The introduction of rear-wheel steering provides increased agility and stability, and an innovative touchscreen provides connected infotainment, including internet browsing and Apple Carplay.
The Centenario adopts a new rear-wheel steering system. At high speeds, the rear tyres turn in the same direction of the steering angle, which leads to a virtual increase of the wheelbase. As a result, the rear-wheel steering provides increased stability and optimises vehicle response.