The Audi R8 V10 Is The Best Everyday Supercar - We'll Tell You Why
At Drivefoundry we often discuss our favourite supercars, both past and present. It’s such a hard topic to conclude nicely and agree on, as different supercars offer different things.
If you’re looking for pure speed without a budget, you’re going to be looking at the mighty Porsche 918 Spyder, Bugatti Chiron and Koenigsegg Agera.
If it’s a technologically advanced supercar you’re after then you’d be best off looking at a McLaren.
Or if you’re after a pure visceral supercar experience behind the wheel you want a Ferrari.
As you can see, deciding on an all time overall “best supercar” is a tricky game to play. Here in the Drivefoundry office we recently had the discussion about which is our favourite “everyday supercar”.
By everyday supercar we’re talking about a supercar which you can live with on a day to day basis. One that you can drive around town, daily drive to the office, and one that wont break the bank every time you require more fuel or a valet.
We think we have nailed it, and found our favourite everyday supercar which ranks above all others in its category. The first generation Audi R8 V10.
Why The Audi R8 V10?
I owned one, and daily drove one for eight years so can confirm that it is a great car to live with.
In fact, all of us in the Drivefoundry office believe the original Audi R8 is the best supercar on the market if you are looking for a supercar which is use able everyday.
It definitely isn’t the type of supercar that should be sat in the garage all week and only allowed out at the weekends. That isn’t what Audi designed this car to be. After all, we want to enjoy our cars as much as possible and there is no better way to do that than to daily drive it.
Is The Audi R8 A Real Supercar?
The great thing about the R8 V10 is that it drives so well and has similar characteristics to cars such as Ferraris, McLarens and Lamborghinis. Yet it doesn’t come with a lot of the problems those supercars come with. Mainly the large cost of running and the cost of maintenance of premium supercar manufacturers. In comparison the Audi R8 is much cheaper to maintain. So in a way you get the best of both worlds, the visceral driving experience with the ease of use.
To say the R8 V10 has similar characteristics to its Lamborghini competitors when talking about performance is an understatement. In fact the R8 has the exact same 5.2-litre V10 as the Lamborghini Gallardo, which produces 525 horsepower.
It’s true, the engine in the R8 is slightly down on power when compared to the Gallardo which puts out 550 horsepower. However it is exactly the same physical engine as the Gallardo, and Audi have slightly de-tuned it.
Is An Audi R8 Better Than A Lamborghini Gallardo?
When comparing the R8 directly to a Gallardo, it is staggering to realise how much of a price difference there is. The average price of a 2010 Audi R8 V10 is around £50,000. Compared to an asking price of £95,000 for a 2010 Gallardo V10 with the exact same engine.
Of course there are differences between a Gallardo and an R8 throughout, however performance statistics are very similar. And that’s no surprise as they’re both packing identical engines. But the Audi R8 is £45,000 cheaper than a Gallardo. That is almost half the price, for a very similar motor.
The original Audi R8 housed a V8 engine which only produced 414 horsepower. The upgrade to a V10 power-plant brings an additional 110 horsepower and really does elevate the R8 V10 in to supercar status.
And when you learn that the engine is the same as that in a Gallardo, you can’t argue that it is truly a supercar.
On a side note, one of the best things about driving this supercar every day is the exhaust note. Not many daily cars in this price bracket sound as amazing as the V10 engine in the R8 does. Just imagine hearing that roar every morning, and every time you leave the office.
Hybrid power is becoming a normal occurrence in a lot of modern supercars. However we aren’t convinced that electric power can overcome that visceral experience of hearing a V10 engine powering you down the road.
How Usable is an Audi R8 on a daily basis?
When I owned an R8, one of the first things that surprised people who climbed in to the passenger seat was how much room there was in the cabin. Audi have done an excellent job making the cabin a spacious environment to spend time.
They designed the car with a rounder cabin which allows more room for both the driver and passenger. This is invaluable when it comes to spending time completing a daily commute. Many supercars don’t offer that much headroom and can become fairly cumbersome to climb in and out of. Not the R8.
How Good Is Storage?
In terms of storage no supercar will be able to compete with more practical cars. However the R8 does a decent job of making every day life workable with a generous amount of storage, both in the cabin and in the front boot space.
In the cabin itself the seats fold forward which make way for a fairly decent sized storage compartment behind the seats. This storage area is big enough for brief cases, small bags and coats. That’s your everyday essentials covered.
There is also a quirky small storage compartment under each of the seats. This is a great place to put personal belongings that you don’t want people to find or see.
If you then need more space, say for shopping or larger bags you have the front boot space. With the engine sitting at the rear of the car, it means there isn’t any room at the back for storage so, like many supercars, it has been moved to the front instead.
The front boot is deceivingly deep and will allow you to fit in a small suitcase or quite a large amount of shopping. Having reviewed and driven numerous supercars, I can safely say the R8 has some of the best storage space around.
It is a true testament to Audi’s design and their philosophy when designing a supercar, that they have prioritised the driver and storage so much. In reality a car that drives this fast really shouldn’t have this much storage or head room. It is a great example how Audi have taken the supercar formula and flipped it on its head.
What Else Makes This Car So Practical?
For a start, Audi have done something that not many supercars have done. They have included child seat anchors. So if you ever needed to do an emergency school run you can.
Although if you do choose to take your child with you in your 525 horsepower supercar, you may not want to use all of that engine power!
The Audi R8 is also surprisingly able to handle stop start traffic. You don’t normally associate rush hour traffic and supercars, in fact it’s normally your worst nightmare when driving a supercar.
In the R8 however it manages slow traffic with relative calmness. The steering isn’t too heavy, it isn’t the widest supercar going and visibility out of all windows is very good.
This All Sounds Great. Are There Any Bad Points?
However stop start traffic leads us on to the Audi’s weakest characteristic. Undoubtably the weakest part of the R8 is the transmission. Thats if you go for an automatic anyway. Audi implemented a single clutch automatic transmission and it is truly awful. At slow speeds it is one of the jerkiest clutches you will ever experience. And that is down to it just being so slow to react and change gear.
Audi have learned a lot since the first generation R8, and have implemented a much better DCT in their current generation supercar. The new dual clutch transmission does still struggle every now and then in stop start traffic, but is a marked improvement over its older brother.
Take our advice and opt for a manual transmission if you are buying any first generation Audi R8.
How Is Reliability If Driving An R8 Daily?
Reliability with any older supercar is always a worry. However the R8 is old enough now that a lot of the known problems have been well documented. And it is reassuring to know that there aren’t many serious faults to report.
The engines themselves are reasonably bulletproof with no serious issues commonly reported. There have been a few reports on the smaller V8 engine of bearing failures, but those problems don’t plague the V10.
All you really have to check for is any rust on the oil lines. And also to ensure that all service dates have been met and undertaken at an Audi dealership.
The magnetic ride system is a great option on these cars and make a huge difference to handling when compared to the static suspension. However failures within the dampers themselves have been reported which requires a new unit on the corner of the car that has failed. This is a repair of around £750-£950 per damper.
One of the main benefits of buying a supercar from Audi, is the fact many replacement parts will be much cheaper than those found at Lamborghini or Ferrari.
Generally supercar manufacturers charge a premium when it comes to repairs and maintenance, which far out-ways any premium Audi would charge.
So Should I Buy An R8 V10?
When you are making the decision of which supercar to buy to use on a daily basis, there are probably only a few cars in the running.
You could go with a Porsche 911, however these are much more common on the roads, and therefor less exclusive.
Or potentially you would be looking at something like a Mercedes-Benz AMG GT. The AMG GT somewhat beats the R8 in performance and fun factor. But it isn’t in the same league when it comes to practicality and price.
So if you are looking for a fun, everyday supercar. One which you’ll be driving every day… Look no further than the R8 V10.
Just remember… Buy a manual.