“Most capable & focused to date.”
Audi’s halo supercar, the R8, has long been lauded as one of the most usable day-to-day supercars out there, sitting alongside the Porsche 911 as a usable car for transport purposes, as well as a poseur mobile and performance yardstick. The R8 also notably offered a driving experience different from most supercars, in that it wasn’t scary, or particularly risky. If you as much as sneezed in a Lamborghini you’d end up face-first into a tree, whereas in an Audi R8, it was stable and confidence-inspiring enough that you might even consider turning on the radio.
Not that we’d recommend you do that, because all you ever need to listen to is that screaming V10 engine (a moment of silence for the beloved R8 V8, please). But for some, the R8 wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, and so Audi has seen it fit to respond, with 44 tooled-up V10 models featuring the full gamut of Audi Sport Performance Parts.
The multitude of added-on components prove that performance isn’t purely a function of power, and that’s proven through the enhancements that began were tried and tested on the track. Weight has been dropped and downforce has been upped, and the 44 limited-run R8s are being offered worldwide by Audi Sport.
Testament to its ‘power isn’t everything’ ethos is the engine, which remains undisturbed, and produces the same 448kW/560Nm as the standard R8 V10 Plus. Clearly Audi is of the opinion that their “racing car for the road” already has the best possible engine for the job. However, while the engine hasn’t been tweaked, everything else has.
An aero kit has been specially developed for the limited-edition cars, made exclusively of carbon fibre, and provides greater downforce as well as the all-important distinction that this is a far more serious car than the standard R8 V10 Plus. The biggest addition is the enormous fixed rear wing out back, where elements of Misano red also feature, as well as the side skirts and aerodynamic elements at the rear that focus airflow.
If you look to the front, you’ll notice sculpted canards, a deeper splitter, and more obvious air inlets. All in all, the aerodynamic package on these limited-edition cars offer up a massive 250kg of downforce at 330km/h, up some 100kg over the standard car. But it’s at 150km/h where the aerodynamic differences are most pronounced: The R8 V10 Plus Sport Performance Parts Edition puts down 52kg of downforce at this speed, double what it would normally.
A track car isn’t all about downforce, of course. You’ll find that the R8 Plus Sport (we’re limiting it to that because its full moniker is just ridiculous) features 20-inch alloys that save up to 8kg of unsprung mass. Further, you’ll find a lightweight three-way adjustable coiler suspension setup, that can be tweaked based on road or track usage. Ceramic disk brakes up front and titanium-backed rear brakes ensure that the R8 can be brought to a dead halt in a blink.
Think they forgot the interior? Think again: There’s an exclusive Sport contour steering wheel ahead of the driver and trimmed in Alcantara, while Audi’s Smartphone interface and rear-view camera are added to the kit list. There’s also fine Nappa leather bucket seats, satellite navigation, and the Virtual Cockpit on board, while the R8 Sports Exhaust provides just the right soundtrack for a spirited drive.
Want one? While availability is global, we’ve little reason to believe that the 44 units will take too long to sell. Each edition commands a price of £176,560 (or $316,120) in the UK, and they’re available through all Audi Centres. If you’re lucky enough to be able to put this penultimate Audi R8 on your shortlist then we’d suggest you get a move on.