Is the first-gen Audi R8 the best driving Audi of all time?

A common thought among Audi enthusiasts is that the original Audi Quattro is the best car to ever wear four rings. That’s probably true, when you consider it’s likely the most important car to the brand in its history. It single-handedly reinvented the entire Audi brand; winning countless motorsport titles and thrusting the entire brand into the conversation with the world’s best performance car makers. However, as far as actually driving goes, the best car in the brand’s history is likely the first-gen Audi R8.


In this new review from Top Gear, we actually get to check out an old car — a 2007 Audi R8 V8 with a manual gearbox. In it, they reckon that the first-gen R8 is the best driving car Audi has ever made and we’d have to agree.

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The original Audi R8 was the brand’s first mid-engine car and it was, despite what Audi may have claimed at the time a sports car. But, as TG rightly notes, it had (has) all of the best supercar bits, just wrapped up in an easy-to-live-with sports car package. For instance, outward visibility is excellent, it has a surprisingly practical trunk, a comfortable ride and a lovely cabin. Yet, its jet-fighter looks and howling V8 scream “supercar”. So it’s the best of both worlds.


Don’t think it’s not exciting, though. Its 4.2 liter naturally-aspirated V8 makes 420 hp and the loveliest noise as it screams to its 8,250 rpm red-line. It can sprint to 62 mph in 4.6 seconds, which is hot-hatch fast by today’s standards but was positively fast during its time. Plus, it didn’t compete with supercars. Instead, it competed with sports cars, like the Porsche 911 and Aston Martin Vantage. So its performance was more than enough.

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But, as TG notes, it’s not the speed that makes the first-gen Audi R8 so special. Instead, it’s the sensation of driving it. Its tactile steering, lovely ride quality and delicious gated manual shifter all make driving the R8 an absolute joy. Sure, modern Audi performance cars would walk away from the original R8 with ease. But none of them will put a smile on their drivers’ faces like the O.G. Audi R8. That’s why it’s Audi’s best-ever driver’s car.


[Source: Top Gear]
Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.