In our latest edition of Audi Through the Decades, we take a look at the Audi made between the years 2000-2010. To be honest, this might have been Audi’s best decade ever, having debuted some incredible machines. Cars like the B7 Audi RS4, C6 Audi RS6, MkII TT RS and the V10-powered Audi S8 all debuted during this decade. However, the best of them all has to be the Audi R8.
Seriously, is there really even a question as to whether or not the R8 is the best Audi of this decade? Not only was the original Audi R8 the brand’s first-ever mid-engine supercar but it packed an incredible V8 engine, an open-gate six-speed manual transmission and looks that still look bite-the-back-of-your-hand beautiful today. Oh and it was Tony Stark’s car…
Most Audi enthusiasts will claim the Audi Ur Quattro to be the best Audi of all time. To be honest, I’d probably agree with that, simply because of its importance not only to the Audi brand but also to the entire automotive industry. Having said that, the Audi R8 is probably the best driving Audi in the brand’s history.
The original Audi R8 debuted in 2008, along with the first Iron Man movie. In fact, I remember seeing the R8 for the first time during the commercial for Iron Man. When it hit that screen, it was like a bomb went off for the Audi brand. Customers were chomping at the bit to get into Audi dealerships and buy a car from the same brand that made Tony Stark’s car.
It wasn’t just the car’s presence and its status that made it so wonderful. The original Audi R8 was an incredible car to drive and it still is. Its chassis was space-grade stuff, its steering was hydraulic and deliciously accurate, its suspension was supple enough around town but because it’s chassis was so good it never leaned in corners and its engine was a masterpiece. Combine all of that into a car that looked as good as the O.G. R8 and you have an instant classic on your hands.
While Audi didn’t invent the everyday supercar; a supercar that can be driven all day, everyday; with the original R8, it certainly made it more popular. Now every supercar wants to be more civilized and comfortable. It really did set a trend, the R8.
What’s said is that the Audi R8 never sold well. The first-gen model didn’t and neither did the second-gen model. The R8 isn’t exactly a sales failure but it was never a big hit. For the same money, customers could buy the Porsche 911, which is more far, far more well-known and comes with a more prestigious badge. So that’s where everyone went. However, those with taste bought the Audi R8 and never looked back.
Following its initial launch, when only a V8 was available, a new 5.2 liter V10 engine was made available and it was — and still is — a remarkable engine. Not only was it brilliant to use but it made an absolutely legendary noise. There’s nothing like having a screaming V10 behind your head while carving up a twisty mountain road. Especially in the Spyder (Convertible) model with the top down.
Other Audis have been better all-rounders, other Audis have been more important to the brand and other Audis have even done better against their respective rivals. However, the Audi R8, in my personal opinion, remains the finest driving instrument the brand has ever made. So it’s most certainly the best car of the ’00s.