Esquire (UK)

The Audi R8 V10: will we see its like again?

(Probably) the final version of Audi’s R8 scores a perfect V10

- By Will Hersey Photograph by Chris Leah

After the first Audi R8 came on the scene in 2006, it was quickly billed as the “everyday” supercar. Partly thanks to the familiarit­y of those four rings on the grille, its relative affordabil­ity compared to the mainly Italian alternativ­es and a generally agreeable manner that meant owners could drive a mid-engined performanc­e car around town without inducing a panic attack.

Yet this “everyday” tag always tended to underrate its contributi­on. From a standing start, Audi produced an instant classic with original looks, race car handling and a personalit­y that could instantly switch from docile to devastatin­g. Thirteen years on, in what sensible prediction­s suggest will be its last upgrade before an allelectri­c successor, many of these attributes remain. It looks sharper and pricklier and comes with various tweaks and upgrades, now producing 612bhp in the flagship Performanc­e package, which includes a rather fetching carbon rear wing.

But this car is all about its engine. A naturallya­spirated V10, visible through the rear window, that is already a rarity and becoming rarer, its throaty rumble will ring in your ears long after you’ve parked up. But so addictive is the habit of going up and down through the gears that parking will be way down your to-do list. On the motorway, a van driver puts his arm out to beckon me past, purely to have a listen. People at a petrol station turn and stop to hear that hum. True, the colour’s quite noticeable too.

As many supercars now focus on smaller, more efficient and more sensible six- and eightcylin­der turbos to achieve similar performanc­e, and Audi heads towards an e-tron future, the V10’s days — indeed the R8’s, as we know it, at least — are numbered. Let us be grateful it ever existed. And let us remember this R8 is anything but “everyday”.

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