Audi is just now getting to 100. It’s new R8 5.2 FSI Quattro — blink! — just got there a whole lot faster.
Ten cylinders, 525 horses at 8,000 rpm, 0 to 62.14 mph in 3.9 seconds, and a top speed of 196.35 mph. MSRP: $114,200–$123,300.
This isn’t your Vater’s Audi, by any means, or his father’s. Did either have a Quick Launch Control program at his fingertips — catapulting him into automotive ecstasy — when the mood, and time, is right?
The Bavaria car company, which produced an “Alpensieger” in 1912 to celebrate the young company’s racing victory in the Austrian Alps, has produced the mountainous R8 V10, which will send many other uppity cars down the hill, tail-lights down.
The result of Audi’s outstanding victories at Le Mans — the naturally aspirated 5.2-liter engine is almost identical to the one Audi provides its GT3 racing teams — the top-of-the-line Audi tears at the asphalt with 390.91 foot pounds of torque at 6,500 rpm and doesn’t stop flexing until 8,700 rpm. By those revs, you’re probably where you wanted to get to already — and waiting for everyone else.
The long-stroke 12.5:1-compression engine features racing technology such as dry sump lubrication, providing for the engine to be mounted low for stability, and Fuel Stratified Injection, which improves fuel efficiency and power through a common rail system, reducing evaporation and knock. The result: Equipped with the optional R tronic transmission (with rocker switches on the steering wheel for ultra-fast shifts), the new R8 V10 averages 17.17 mpg, which might even make your “green” friends ogle enviously.
All engine details are racing bred. The crankcase is a high-strength aluminum-alloy casting; connecting rods are forged steel; and the four camshafts are chain-driven and adjustable through 42 degrees. This is the same powerplant found in the Lamborghini LP560-4, although slightly detuned. Audi owns the great Italian carmaker.
Part of this dual potency — horsepower and efficiency — results from the R8’s high horsepower to weight ratio. The vibrant V10 is 569 pounds — only 68 pounds more than the V8 — and its magnesium engine frame is just 463 pounds. With the standard six-speed manual, the aluminum-body R8 weighs only 3,571 pounds, with each horsepower moving only 6.91 pounds of overall weight.
Handling and control — once again, this is a racing-inspired vehicle — key this car. The “quattro” is four-wheel drive, which Audi first released in the ‘60s and popularized in the ‘80s with the 11-year run of the Audi Quattro. With this, you’ll accelerate quicker out of curves, and you’re safer at any speed. So, too, the mid-engine design provides an excellent 44-to-56-percent axle load distribution. Dual aluminum wishbones, front and rear, are an adept suspension platform, and on the 19-inch wheels are 235/35 (front) and 295/30 (rear) performance tires.
The shocks are smart: Magnetic particles within respond to voltage and reduce the flow of oil through the valves based on road conditions and driving style — normal or sport, your choice. Ventilated and perforated disk brakes — eight brake pistons at the front and four at the rear — ensure stop-on-a-dime performance. Or, choose the lightweight ceramic brake system: Combined, the carbon and silicon carbide disks weight 19.84 pounds less than the steel disks.
The R8 design is already award-winning, but the V10 is better yet, with features such as front air inlets, which feed air to the coolers, highly delineated vertical air scoops on the sides and a rear window that showcases the 10-cylinder engine. A rear spoiler deploys automatically at higher speeds, the underbody finishes off in an upward-curved diffuser, and the exhaust system features two large oval tailpipes.
Up front, all-LED headlights are standard. Audi says it’s the first to use the economical, long-lasting LEDs for the high beam, low beam, daytime running lights and turn signals in a production car.
The R8 V10’s long wheelbase — 8.69 feet — provides for spaciousness, making the car comfortable for everyone. Visibility is also good — afforded by slender hinge pillars. Luggage space is also generous: 3.53 cubic feet slip in under the front hood, and another 3.18 cubic feet fits behind the seats. You can also swing in two golf bags.
The monoposto-style leather interior — an arc holding the steering wheel and controls — is available in a number of colors and finishes, including a carbon and piano-lacquer finish. A matching luggage set is also available. The instruments and the gearshift knob are decorated with red rings, and the footrests and the rocker switches of the R tronic have an aluminum finish.
Newly standard this year: a six-disc CD changer, hands-free Bluetooth hands-free phone interface and Homelink transmitter. The standard 19-inch twin-spoke alloy wheels are also now available with a polished finish.
Options include the Audi parking system advanced with an integrated rearview camera, a navigation system and a Bang & Olufsen sound system. And, of course, you can also further customize the new Audi supercar to taste: After all, watching others in your rearview mirror should always be done in your consummate style.
R8 5.2 FSI Quattro, www.audiusa.com