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2008 Audi R8 Base 2dr Coupe Man quattro

2008 Audi R8
Trim Info:
All-Wheel Drive, 2 Door Coupe, Compact
13 mpg city / 18 mpg hwy
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Expert Reviews

May 4, 2019 by Brian Alexander, Content Editor

2008 Audi R8 1
2008 Audi R8

DriverSide Overview
Supercars are famous for being a lot like exotic snakes – if you’ve got enough cash you can own one, but you do so at your own risk. In either case, if you lose control for just a split second, you are going to get bit; though unfortunately no anti-venom in the world can quell the humiliation and financial ruin of a totaled supercar. Or at least that’s how it used to be, until the advent of the Audi R8. Named after Audi’s five-time Le Mans winning prototype, the R8 may go down as the world’s first truly forgiving supercar. Its mid-engine balance and Quattro all-wheel drive make the relentlessly fast and immensely capable R8 astonishingly easy to drive at speed. Don’t go thinking it doesn’t have a personality though, because with a snarling V-8 soundtrack, LED-outlined headlamps and carbon fiber ‘sideblades,’ the R8 has all the subtlety of a tactical nuke. Inside, drivers enjoy typically stellar Audi build quality, not to mention the sound of that mid-mounted engine cranking away. Certainly people will find a way to wreck even this most tolerant of land rockets, but with such impeccable balance, grip and agility, they’re going to have to kick this snake pretty hard before it bites back.

What's to Like
This car doesn’t go unnoticed – it’s pretty much like driving around in the Millennium Falcon, though a Chewbacca-esque presence is purely contingent on who you choose as your passenger. Rampant acceleration, insane grip and controlled poise are coupled with a comfortable cabin to create a truly usable performance machine. Did we mention how awesome it looks?

What's Not to Like
The price of exclusivity is high, and the R8 is no exception – expect big, big car payments. Cargo space is there, but in no way is it overwhelming. The R tronic automatic sequential transmission can be somewhat bothersome on hills, as it engages the clutch much like traditional manual transmission and is therefore prone to stalls, or at the very least, doesn’t seem completely controllable.

The Drive:
DriverSide Driving Impressions

Driving the R8 is about as blissful as it gets. Audi’s high-revving 4.2-liter V-8 – basically the same engine first introduced to us in the ballistic RS4 – provides astonishing thrust, especially once it hits its stride above 5,000 rpm. Like a good pair of running shoes, the R8’s helm keeps you well informed of what’s happening on the asphalt. The impeccable balance provided by the engine’s placement amidships allows the R8 to change direction with remarkable speed and composure. Quattro all-wheel drive provides prodigious grip, constantly taunting you to try and push the car beyond its limits. Rest assured that if you do – and it takes a lot of effort to do so – the Quattro system will gather things up quickly and without incident.

Engine and Drivetrain
Audi’s 4.2-liter all-aluminum V-8 makes its way into the R8’s engine bay with minor alterations since its debut in the RS4. With an 8,000 rpm redline, the engine likes to be revved into the stratosphere, producing 420 horsepower at 7,800 rpm and 317 lb-ft of torque between 4,500 rpm and 6,000 rpm. Power is driven to all-four wheels, with torque biased rearward at a maximum split of 35/65 and both a six-speed manual gearbox and six-speed automatic sequential ‘box are available.

Interesting Vehicle Features and Options
Being a flagship model, the R8 comes light on options. Those looking for an automatic gearbox may be somewhat shocked to find out the R tronic sequential will set them back $9,000, though we do have to say the paddle-activated, rev-matched downshifts rank pretty high on the awesomeness-to-price scale. Other options include a premium package, various leather upholstery packages, navigation, alcantara headliner, alternate ‘sideblade’ colors and a Bang and Olufsen 12-speaker sound system, though we’d say blaring out that glorious V-8 soundtrack with talk radio is tantamount to heresy.

Key Technology Evaluation
As you’d probably have guessed looking at it, the R8 isn’t a vehicle that skimps on technological flair. Audi’s magnetic ride suspension works much like Ferrari’s Manettino system and has the ability to stiffen the suspension at the push of a button by altering the stiffness of the shocks via magnetic charge. The system varies the damping of the suspension through turns, working to eliminate body roll and dive under braking. Bi-xenon headlamps with LED surrounds show off the R8’s futuristic predisposition outside, as does the LED-lit engine compartment.

Green Evaluation/Gas Mileage
With its 8,000 rpm V-8 powerplant, the R8 is pretty much the genetic opposite of a Toyota Prius. While the engine’s emissions are rated at LEV-II, its fuel economy returns certainly fit the supercar bill, with the manual R8 achieving 13 mpg city and 19 mpg highway, and the automatic coming in at a slightly better 13 mpg city and 20 mpg highway.

A Closer Look:  Vehicle Details

While the interior of the R8 is simple, it maintains the air of refinement Audi is famous for crafting. The roofline is actually relatively high so the cabin isn’t claustrophobic, and the tools of the road – steering wheel, gauges and gear lever – dominate the driver’s view. The seats are very comfortable and well bolstered, making long stints behind the wheel enjoyably painless.

One look at the R8 is all it takes. Its completely 21st century design will have passersby gawking wherever you drive. The carbon fiber ‘sideblades’ are particularly distinct when speced as a different color than the body. Other drivers constantly fixate on the R8’s unorthodox shape as you pass by them. Freeway stalkers are a common occurrence, and don’t be surprised if you’re pulled over for doing the speed limit; the cop just wants to get a better look at the car.

Market Segment and Pricing
With a base MSRP of $109,000, the R8 keeps itself in good company, going directly up against some of the best in the business, such as the Porsche 911 GT3, Maserati GranTurismo and Aston Martin V8 Vantage, all of which are priced within a few thousand dollars of each other. While the mid-engine R8 is quite different from the Aston and Maser, we won’t be surprised if the Audi’s style and superb drive manage to steal away some potential buyers.

What We Think
The Audi R8 has certainly raised the bar for carmakers the world over. Its driving precision dissects the road with the aptitude of a scalpel in the hands of a skilled surgeon, making the driving dynamics of other V-8 performance cars feel like trying to perform an operation with a filet knife. The fact that Audi has managed to create such a usable, forgiving mid-engine supercar on its first try is immensely impressive. Like its Le Mans predecessor, the Audi R8 is, without a doubt, a legend in the making.

Other Resources

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2008 Audi R8 Quattro R tronic: – OUR TAKE: The gawker factor is pretty high, so new is Audi to this segment. And like the design, the driving experience is both unique and subdued. It's a fast car, to be sure, but it's not a pulse-racer. Source:

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Supercharged Audi R8 For The Impatient [Tuners] – Do you want an R8, but need it to have more power than the standard 4.2-liter V8's 420 HP? Well, you could sit around waiting for Audi to bring out the V10-powered model. Or you could try to swipe the V12 TDI concept. But, if you don't feel like wait Source:

Audi Rents Out the 'Ring: V10 R8 – What we have here is just another Audi R8 taking laps around the Nürburgring, except there's something different about this one. Notice the two slats in the lower grills compared to the current R8's three . And the side intakes seem to be a litt Source:

Audi R8 debuts as DTM safety car – Filed under: Motorsports, Sports/GTs, Euro, Supercars, AudiClick for hi-res gallery of the Audi R8 DTM safety car Audi has announced that its superlative R8 sportscar will serve as the safety car for the ever-popular DTM touring car championship, hav Source:

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Audi Plans To Reclaim The Ring With V10 R8 – It seems like everyone’s gunning for the ZR1’s spot at the top of the Nurburgring heap, including Audi. The company has let it slip that the new V10 variant of the R8 will set a lap time lower than the now legendary ZR1 once complete. Along with Source:

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MTM supercharges the Audi R8 – Filed under: Aftermarket, Tuners, Supercars, AudiClick above for a gallery of high-res images MTM has been adding horsepower to Audis for more than 20 years, and they have put that experience into developing a new twin-screw supercharger system that Source:

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