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      Audi R8 V10 plus Coupe review

      Santosh Nair

      Santosh Nair


       This is closest we can get to time travel. We welcome the Audi R8 V10 plus coupe. Over the years Audi’s technological knowhow have helped its prototypes achieve 13 wins in the Le Mans, the most gruelling long-distance race in the world. With such a legacy, you’d know what to expect of the R8 V10 plus Coupe. Oh, and did I mention it has 5.2-litre V10 naturally aspirated engine that feels like a volcano erupting?


       More on this masterpiece. Unlike the usual automated assemblies, the R8 is mostly put together by hand at the quattro GmbH sports car facility in Neckarsulm, Germany (VW owned). Weld seams of this seemingly flawless body shell are carried out by humans. You’d be baffled to know that robots are involved only as support when the need arises. 15 coordinated stations is all it takes for the most experienced set of hands to assemble this exemplary machine. With the abundant equipment variations and customisation possibilities, not any combination is created twice! Feast your eyes as this is the kind of exclusivity you get for the orange speed demon depicted..  


      Appearance Exterior

       Now, these aerodynamic body lines date back to Audi’s legendary R18. While it still retains the basic design language of the earlier R8, it looks much more razor-sharp than before. There’s quite a bit of carbon additions thrown in. Especially the new front spoiler, exterior mirror housings, two piece side blades, rear wing and diffuser. Deliciously crafted 19-inch forged aluminium wheels can be seen in tangent with the 19-inch ceramic brakes. Every small detail begs your attention.


       I will give you a hint. Each time I pulled over, it took three seconds for people to run from all corners, and magnetically transform into selfie instruments. Look at the finish of that enticing orange paint; just melts your eyes. Superior paint and processes are put to use as this adds to unnecessary weight. So a regular finish is made up of four different coats, while a matte effect paint finish uses as many as six and the outcome is no thicker than a human hair! An interesting optional feature is the laser light head lamps that reaches twice as far. Important to see where this SAM (surface to air missile) is pointed in the dark, right?  


      Appearance Interior

       You kind of lose your breath when you fling the frameless door open. The sight of the cabin makes you forget the bend job needed to get into the seat that’s just a few centimetres off the tarmac. Once in, the unmistakeable performance oriented flat bottom steering with scary buttons all over stop you for a detailed viewing. In fact, I realised that everything in this cabin are exquisite tools centric to the driver. There’s a reason why the motor start up, driving dynamics, engine sound, infotainment or gear changing can be controlled from the steering wheel. It’s so that you can keep your eyes on what’s important; burning the tarmac.


       There’s reasonable amount of space on the inside even though this is a two seater supercar. Absence of the B-pillars accentuates the airy feel and the view over the hood is remarkable. Bucket seats are well appointed in Nappa leather and propose an outrageous level of lateral support. However, finding a natural driving position was impossible as the backrest is fixed. Also, there’s space behind the seats for some shopping bags but the question is, with people going gaga over it, where do you safely intend to park this car? There’s also some space for your soft bags under the hood, only if you decide to leave the deflated spare wheel behind.


       Audi’s iteration of an instrument cluster called ‘Virtual Cockpit’ now sits behind the steering and they’ve smartly dropped the central display. A vivid 12.3-inch TFT screen displays loads of important information, including the navigation map. A clever function also gets the map to occupy the entirety of the screen while the dials shrink to either side, brilliant! It is also obvious here that the most nerve shattering music is sourced from the vocals of the V10 thrumming in your ears, and not the Bluetooth track.


      Performance Drive

       Finally! Now to give you an idea, the Audi R8 LMS gets 50 per cent of its parts from this R8 V10 Coupe. Namely the Space Frame and the V10 engine. Being light is exigent, and Audi’s Space Frame has high strength aluminium that incorporates carbon for 14 per cent of the construction. And then there’s this sweet 5.2-litre direct injection V10 engine strapped on to the hump of this lightweight frame. Believe it or not, this motor meets EU6 exhaust emission standards! With 602bhp on a tight leash, 60bhp more than the outgoing version, I’m sure you’re getting the picture. Hit the conspicuous red button, and the V10 coughs to life with a maniac rev that could wring motoring spirits back from the dead.


       It feels nothing short of what JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratories) could build for Nasa. I mean you literally take off while the mind struggles to comprehend and focus the eyes on the road. All this while your soul screams nirvana! 0-100kmph is despatched in a mind numbing 3.56sec, 150kph in 6.73 seconds and before you know it, 200kmph comes up in just over 11sec. This is partially possible due to the S tronic seven-speed dual clutch transmission whose shifts are brutally quick. In hundredths of a second with no pause in power, the thrust is so fierce that you can sense your brain-ware working backwards to deal with the speed. Not to mention the ballistic exhaust note that’s unleashed while you’re at it. In fact, the decibel drama is so wild that we had cars, visibly farther ahead, shift off our lane.


       When you’re not in the mood for performance (are you joking?), Audi has gone to the extent of altering the settings in partial load operations. This means that the injection and ignition are switched off at a cylinder bank and only five cylinders, instead of ten, are active. When needed the inactive cylinders switch on for the engine to deploy its full power within milliseconds. Audi’s deep installation position of the V10 along with a 90 degrees cylinder angle lends the R8 a low centre of gravity. What also aids the package is the double wishbone axle used on both ends of the suspension. Originating from motorsport, it offers precise steering and excellent agility. At the wheel, it didn’t take me more than a bend to figure that out. The electromechanical power steering is super quick to react to whatever is thrown at it. There’s also an aggressive eagerness to change direction which helps velocity and the line be maintained around corners.


       To aid ride characteristics, the R8 gets adjustable dampers. It makes the car become extremely useful especially in our road conditions. Though the ride can be tuned to offer a reasonably comfortable drive, it can’t really pose as an everyday car. Sport mode however, makes the suspension tremendously stiff and everything the road has to offer can be felt hard. Unexpectedly, the ground clearance coupled with the angled chin got the R8 over all kinds of speed breakers and undulations. Armed with 19-inch ceramic brakes and light discs that sport hard silicon carbide, even under high thermal stress their deceleration and control is impressive. Superlative braking power with immaculate pedal response was exhibited.


      Tech Specs

      Make Audi
      Model R8 Coupe
      Fuel Petrol
      Variant V10 plus
      Engine Capacity 5204
      Max. Power (bhp@rpm) 602 @ 8250
      Max. torque (Nm@rpm) 560 @ 6500
      Gears seven-speed automatic
      Length mm 4426
      Width mm 1940
      Height mm 1240
      Wheelbase mm 2650
      Fuel Capacity (in litres) 73


      MMI navigation plus with MMI touch Yes
      Audi Virtual Cockpit - Instrument clustre Yes
      Bang and Olufsen sound system Yes
      Parking system plus with reversing camera Yes
      Ceramic brakes Yes
      Start-Stop system Yes
      Electronic Stabilisation Control Yes
      quattro: permanent all-wheel drive Yes
      Convenience key Yes

      Competition All Specs

      Specifications Audi
      R8 Coupe
      AMG GT S
      Variant V10 plus AMG GT S
      Fuel Petrol Petrol
      Engine Capacity 5204 3982
      Max. Power (bhp@rpm) 602 @ 8250 503 @ 6250
      Max. torque (Nm@rpm) 560 @ 6500 650 @ 1750-4750
      Gears seven-speed automatic seven-speed automatic
      Length mm 4426 4546
      Width mm 1940 1939
      Height mm 1240 1288
      Wheelbase mm 2650 2630
      Fuel Capacity (in litres) 73 75


       Well, there you have it. Audi’s elite and one of the most formidable machines ever built. Created in the world’s most demanding development laboratory: Motorsport. So you can expect nothing but the best from it in terms of performance. If money is not a constraint for you, then the Rs 2.97 crore should seem justifiable for the deliciously appointed orange R8 that can be parked at your garage. It will attract the nuts out of anything it comes by and will make you even more famous. Do I really need to say anything more here?


      Photo Courtesy By : Kapil Angane

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