A naturally aspirated V-10 that revs to 8500 RPM’s………that’s exotic!! The sound of the V-10 as you reach 8500 RPM’s is something everyone should hear while you still can. There are basically only two cars left out there that offer the V-10, the Audi R8 and the Lamborghini Huracan (which are both owned by the Volkswagen Group) are the last two cars out there you can get with a V-10. The Audi R8 with its naturally aspirated V-10 definitely belongs on my Exotic Car Reviews!!
The Lamborghini and the Audi are basically the same car as they both share the same engine and drive train. The Audi is a little more plush inside, with a more compliant suspension and slightly detuned with a little less horsepower than the Huracan. The Audi R8 is more of a Grand Tourer, while the Lamborghini is a little more focused for the track……… otherwise the same car.
This time I actually rented a 2020 Audi R8 from Enterprise Exotic Car Rental to enjoy for the day……….. I might need to add a post to my website and give some reviews about Exotic Car Rental companies as there are a lot of them out there. Renting an Exotic Car from Enterprise was like buying a Lexus from a Toyota Dealership………… I got the car, however I did not get that luxury exotic car buying experience………………
We picked up the R8 in Roseville Ca, and then headed up to Georgetown Ca about 40 miles away. You may remember Georgetown from my post Day Trip Georgetown Ca. Just outside of Georgetown is Wentworth Springs Road which runs about 35 miles to Ice House Rd. This is a great well maintained two lane road, with some great elevation changes, big sweepers, tight twistys and some nice straight aways……………. best of all, it never has much traffic. A great road to enjoy an exotic car.
They say the only way to get a 100% performance from an exotic car is on the race track, if your lucky you may reach 7/10ths performance on the road if you are really good. On this trip, with Miss Linda in the passenger seat I would say we were at about 5/10ths. I was driving as hard and aggressive as I could while being considerate of Miss Linda. The tires squealed a couple of times but we never lost traction.
This car was a big difference from my manual transmission, front engine, rear wheel drive Z06. The Audi is a V-10, mid engine, automatic (dual clutch) transmission with all wheel drive. Though I have driven some mid engine cars, I do not have a lot of experience with them. I was concerned that I might experience some understeer (when you turn the wheel and the cars keeps going straight) as I have in other mid engine cars I have driven. With the engine in the back, there is less weight on the front wheels to aid traction. The R8 handled great, I never felt any understeer and the handling overall was awesome.
After we picked up the car we had some freeway driving to get to Georgetown, so we put the R8 in “comfort” mode which was just that. The Audi R8 was amazingly quiet with the windows up and the ride was very smooth. The Transmission was also very smooth, though it felt super lazy!! On the freeway when I went to pass someone and smashed the right peddle to the floor, it felt like it took forever to downshift and go………the delay was surprising. Once we got in the mountains, we switched the Audi to “dynamic” mode. This changed everything…………the all wheel drive system shifted most of the power to rear wheels, the suspension stiffened up and you could feel the road in a good way. The steering started communicating more and the transmission came alive. the shifts became instant and the rev matching on the down shifts with all the crackles and pops from the exhaust was super cool!!
The biggest disappointment with the Audi were the paddle shifters………. they were so small that if you were not looking for them you would not notice them. They were also hard to reach and if your hand position was slightly off you could not reach them at all. They did work well and the gear changes were super quick, however after a while is was just easier to put back in automatic mode and let the dual clutch do its thing. Overall it was a great drive and a great day!!
A Little History
Audi AG is a German automobile manufacturer that designs, engineers, produces, markets and distributes luxury vehicles. Audi is a member of the Volkswagen Group and has its roots at Ingolstadt, Bavaria, Germany. Audi-branded vehicles are produced in nine production facilities worldwide.
The company name is based on the Latin translation of the surname of the founder, August Horch. “Horch”, meaning “listen” in German, becomes “audi” in Latin. The four rings of the Audi logo each represent one of four car companies that banded together to create Audi’s predecessor company, Auto Union in 1932. The modern era of Audi essentially began in the 1960s when Auto Union was acquired by Volkswagen from Daimler-Benz. After relaunching the Audi brand with the 1965 introduction of the Audi F103 series, Volkswagen merged Auto Union with NSU Motorenwerke in 1969, thus creating the present day form of the company. Audi, is among the best-selling luxury automobile brands in the world.
The Audi R8, based on the Audi Le Mans quattro concept car (designed by Frank Lamberty and Julian Hoenig) first appeared at the 2003 International Geneva Motor Show and the 2003 Frankfurt International Motor Show. The R8 road car was officially launched at the Paris Auto Show on September 30, 2006. There was some confusion with the name, which the car shares with the 24 Hours of Le Mans winning R8 Le Mans Prototype (LMP). Initial models included the R8 4.2 FSI coupe (with a V8 engine) and R8 5.2 FSI coupe (with a V10 engine). It was offered with both a manual and automatic transmission. The manual transmission and the V-8 were both dropped in 2013. Convertible models, called the Spyder by the manufacturer, were introduced in 2008. Followed by the high-performance GT model introduced in 2011. The Motorsport variants of the R8 were also subsequently introduced from 2008 onwards. Jacky Ickx a 6-time 24 hours of Le mans winner described the R8 as the best handling car today.
The R8 became the personal vehicle for Tony Stark (played by Robert Downey Jr.) throughout six films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Type 42 models were used in the Iron Man Trilogy with a V8 in Iron Man, a V10 Spyder in Iron Man 2, and an e-tron prototype in Iron Man 3. Type 4S models appeared in later Marvel Studios movies with 2016 V10 Plus models in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War and a Spyder model in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
The Audi R8 gets a full refresh for the 2020 model year, with revised styling, more power and a host of new technology. Audi says the new R8 shares around 50 per cent of its parts with the R8 LMS GT3 race car. The exterior restyling is subtle: The updated front bumper includes a new honeycomb grille with R8 badge, front spoiler lip, and lateral air intakes. The updated rear bumper continues with honeycomb air outlets, oval exhaust pipes (which are definitely over sized), and a new rear diffuser. The headlights have also been darkened, and the rocker panel has been redesigned and includes an inlay. The R8 V-10 Coupe (that we drove) and Spyder get their speed from a 562-horsepower, 5.2-litre V-10 engine mated to a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission that can shift gears in as little as 120 milliseconds. The R8 V-10 performance Coupe and Spyder see their V-10s pump out 602 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque. All R8 models now achieve a top track speed of 199 mph.
Audi says there is now a greater difference between the R8’s driving modes, and in the “Comfort” setting, the R8 is definitely a comfortable ride over long distances. When you switch to “Dynamic” mode, however, you get to enjoy the R8 at its fullest. The rear-biased Quattro system gives the car a mostly rear-wheel-drive feel, but with the benefit of all-wheel-drive grip when you need it. Carbon ceramic brakes come standard on the V10 Performance, with giant, six-pot calipers that can scrub off speed remarkably well, without being too grabby at lower speeds.
Comfort and Practicality
The Audi R8 is an Exotic Car that is truly comfortable for a long drive in its “comfort” mode setting and a willing super car for the track or a nice winding mountain road in its “dynamic setting. The R8 will probably win out here against most other 2 seater exotic cars, in the comfort category. It was very comfortable, smooth and surprisingly quiet…. we really had to roll the windows down to hear that great V-10 singing. I could easily envision a long cross-country trip in this car except for one thing………….
This car has no room for enough luggage for a true get away………… You have a small shelf behind the seats that is good for a couple jackets, but not much else. You then only have approx 4 cubic ft of space in the “frunk” in the front of the car. You might be able to fit one carry on size piece of luggage or maybe a couple of back packs……..and that’s about it. If your wife has a shoe bag…………. forget about it, we have no room.
This was a great day and something we will definitely be doing again. We love cars here at Exotic Cars and Road Trips and the joy of experiencing great roads in great cars. Each car has its unique strengths, weaknesses and character. Each car will provide a difference experience and adventure that will we continue to explore.
The Audi R8 was a great car and we had a great day!! I would recommend the Audi R8 as a great Grand Tourer that would be very comfortable on a long drive in comfort mode…………………with the ability to become a great back road performer in dynamic mode!! Just don’t go too far depending on the luggage you were able to fit in.
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Exotic Cars and Road Trips