I love these Car and Driver retro reviews, especially those that come from the 2000s, as that’s the time when I was able to actually start driving, so those are the cars that really excite me. I distinctly remember when the first-gen Audi R8 debuted and the awe it inspired in me. I also remember dropping my jaw looking at the Aston Martin V8 Vantage for the first time. The Porsche 911 Turbo never really tickled my fancy but it’s a legendary car regardless. So this retro-comparison from a 2008 issue of Car and Driver was a must read for me.
Back in July 2008, those three cars were at the top of their games. The Audi R8 was the newbie, having just debuted with its killer Tony Stark-styling, screaming V8, and mid-engine layout. It used a 4.2 liter naturally-aspirated V8 with 420 horsepower, mated to a six-speed gated manual. While the breathtaking, James Bond-inspired Aston Martin V8 Vantage used a 4.3 liter naturally-aspirated V8 to make 380 horsepower, with a six-speed. Lastly, the Porsche 911 Turbo being the usual oddball made 480 horsepower from its 3.8 liter twin-turbo flat-six.
In a straight line, the Porsche demolished the other two, getting from 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds, which is quick even now, over a decade later. The Audi R8 was next, hitting 60 mph in 4.3 seconds, a still respectable time. However, the Aston was a bit behind the times even back in 2008, doing the same sprint in 5.1 seconds. The Aston would have a hard time outrunning the new VW GTI.
However, in the twisty bits, it was the Audi R8 that shined. Its steering, agile handling, and mid-engine balance made it the most fun car on track and the most confidence-inspiring on the road. Now, we know Audi to be a supercar maker but such an idea was novel back in 2008. So it’s always great to go back and read what was said about it around the time of its debut and remember just how revolutionary it was.
[Source: Car and Driver]