The Audi R8 must qualify as one of the most seminal cars in the automotive landscape. At the turn of the millennia, the mainstays of the Audi’s higher performance product range consisted of fast and solidly built but slightly staid executive saloons and estates with the odd coupe/roadster in the mix. The heady days of Audi Quattro Goup B rally cars, tearing the worlds rally stages apart in a frenzy of spectacular noise and fury, were a distant memory. Amazingly, Audi was also on on a victorious roll at Le Mans, taking three victories from 2000 to 2003, yet without a high performance sports car to promote this success. Audi finally realised this and a plan was hatched.
In 2003 Audi showed the Le Mans quattro concept car. Designer Frank Lamberty conceptualised a design that was sleek, low and with beautiful details, such as the now famed ‘side blades’ and the cab-forward, supercar style bodywork. It was exciting, dramatic and as far away from the typical Audi aesthetic as you could imagine. The engineering was also amazing to behold. Audi, the pioneers of the mainstream aluminium space frame chassis, further developed this structure to into a mid-engined platform, with the 4.2 FSi V8 engine cradled behind the driver and on display under a glass cover. It featured Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system too, The big question was, how much of this would actually make production?
The answer, amazingly, was all of it. In a move that shocked the industry, the R8 was productionised as virtually the same car. It debuted at the Paris Auto show in 2006 to critical acclaim and deliveries started soon after. The press swooned after it, especially as the R8 drove in such a pure form, more akin to a rear wheel drive, mid-engined supercar, than with quattro all wheel drive, which traditionally pollutes a driving experience. The open gated manual box was also a highlight – a design feature usually the preserve of Ferrari. With its gratifying 4.2 litre V8 engine rumbling away behind, the R8 stole the heart of the collective motoring industry.
It completely changed the views of Audi and indeed the junior supercar landscape for the better. Other variants were introduced, including an indulgent V10 powered R8, but it is the original V8 with a manual gearbox that is considered the sweet spot of performance, noise and handling. A true game changer.
RHD, Ice Silver (P5P5), Silver side blades, Black-pale grey/black interior (EL), Coloured stitching for fine Nappa leather (0UB), Audi magnetic ride (1BL), Heated front seats (4A3), CD changer (7A2), Audi parking system front and rear (7X2), Cruise control (8T2), Bluetooth phone prep (9ZF), Pedals and footrest in stainless steel (GS3), Fine nappa leather pack 3 (PL3), DVD sat Nav (PNA), Electric seats (PV1).
Smooth, sleek and such a departure from the typical Audi range of the time, the first generation Audi R8 looks sensational and a much purer design than its replacement. This example is finished in Ice Silver with silver Side Blades and silver wheels. A glacially cool and elegant combination that suits the R8 aesthetic perfectly.
The paintwork of the car is in exceptional condition with barely a mark to report. The Side blades are also free of any marks as are the beautifully smooth flanks of the car. The metal fuel filler is beautifully crafted and also free from any marks or scratches.
The exterior is dramatic but with a very Audi-esque polish, and the interior follows that same Audi design DNA. Comfortable, low slung and wrought from solid materials, everything works as it should and the build quality is evident with virtually no wear to report anywhere. The leather remains soft and the seats supportive.
Audi also had ‘ease of use’ in mind and the R8 has excellent sight-lines front and rear. It is easy to manoeuvre.and drive on a day to day basis, yet capable of being driven in a spirited fashion when the occasion demands.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
It was amazing that Audi even considered a mid-engined supercar in the first place, but even more amazing that the conceptual design, with the engine on full display under a glass cover, made it to production. Indeed this must be one of the best dressed engine bays in the segment – exposed for all to see, it presents beautifully.
On test drive, the engine pulls cleanly and with great potency, the driver able to precisely meter out exactly the power he wants with accuracy. A naturally aspirated V8 engine and a manual gearbox read as nirvana for true driving enthusiasts and Audi’s open gated manual even more so.
WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES
The handsome twin-bladed five spoke alloys are a wholesome 19 inch in diameter, enhancing the stance of the R8 perfectly. They present as new with no marks or scrapes.
The tyres are also in excellent condition, consisting of a set of premium Pirelli P Zero tyres, sized 235/35/19 front and 295/30/19 rear. The brakes work as expected, strong and confident, hauling the car up with ease.
This R8 was supplied new in October 2008 via main Audi Centre, South Hereford Audi. It has had three former keepers who have enjoyed this R8 sparingly and always serviced it at the main dealer.
28/08/10 – Broughtons Audi – 4,413
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This file includes the full book pack including the hard backed owners manual, all stored in Audi’s light coloured suede effect wallet. Also included is the Audi new car folder with various documents and the spare key.
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