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The Audi R8 - V8 or V10. That Is The Question.

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

The DriveWrite Archives Topics:  Audi R8

The Audi R8 - V8 or V10. That Is The Question.

Geoff Maxted
December 3, 2013

Audi R8 V10 Audi R8 V10 Audi R8 V10 Audi R8 V10 Audi R8 V10
It’s one of those situations you often find yourself in. You decide to buy an Audi R8 but are then faced with a tricky dilemma in that the car comes in two flavours. Although I wasn’t intent on buying on this occasion, alas,(these cars cost between £91,000 and £130,000 depending) I was certainly intent on trying as I was confronted by not one but two of the brilliant sports cars to choose from; both of them red. The obvious answer was to sample both, so that’s what I did and it occurred to me that the real story here was to see which version was best - V8 or V10; that was the question. Now, of course, a Spyder has been introduced to complicate things further but here we will concentrate on the coupés.

The R8 has been around for a while now and it is hard to find anyone who doesn’t agree that it is one great sports car. Beautiful to look at, fast, powerful yet eminently useable. Both cars have the same superbly balanced chassis, direct steering and four-wheel drive. Grip is immense; a driver would have to do something really cretinous to throw this car off-line.

The inside - it has to be said - is a little uninspiring and it is probably about time that the interior was updated although it is still nevertheless a good place to be. As you would expect from a premium brand, there are all of the usual options available but an interesting extra on the V8 was the inclusion of integrated seat belt microphones and voice control in the Bluetooth department. Both cars came with the optional 7-speed S-tronic gearbox enabling lightning quick gear changes, executed in a few hundredths of a second with virtually no interruption in power flow. If in a lazy mood then full auto is available but, plainly, not as involving.

The V8 develops 430PS from it’s 4.2 litres whilst the V10 delivers a stonking 550PS. The cars can be distinguished by the exterior trim; the V8 has a black grill and the V10 silver but the most obvious sign - if you’ve got time to read it as it flashes past - is the discreet V10 badge on the side.

You would think that the choice would be obvious but it isn’t. For a start the V8 (with the cars tested) is the thick end of £30k cheaper than the V10 which runs a slightly de-tuned Lamborghini engine and is therefore less fuel efficient. On the other hand, the former is deficient in the cylinder department to the tune of two and that makes a difference with the performance figures. The split in the traffic light sprint is less than a second - both being well under five seconds to 60 - and top speed only separated by about 8mph and, in truth, under general driving you have to wonder who is likely, that often, to approach almost two hundred miles per hour. There’s a bit of a blind spot on the left hand view for the driver at angled junctions but generally visibility is fine.

In reality the V8 is great and is powerful enough even for those track day events. I have read reports that say the extra weight of the bigger motor affects the balance and turn-in of the Audi R8. I can only assume that this was under test-track conditions because I didn’t feel a thing. If it matters, I would say that the V10 made the more glorious sound but, by dint of the extra performance, it would also make more visits to the pumps. Out on the road there’s not a lot in it. A driver lucky enough to experience these cars wouldn’t argue the point because he would be too involved in the experience to care.

On balance, money no object, I would choose the V10 because it does feel that little bit quicker and, despite all the advances in automotive technology, there is, as they say, simply no replacement for displacement.

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