This new Audi R8 is an incredibly impressive machine and one we’re going to miss quite a bit when it’s finally gone. Its 5.2 liter screaming V10 is a masterpiece and its performance is nearly hypercar-level. However, it’s also a very different machine from the car it began as. The Mk1 Audi R8 created the recipe for the new car but the new car added a helluva lot of extra spice. But which one is actually better: the original recipe or extra spicy? Top Gear found out.
In a jealousy-inducing comparison test, TG took the original 2007 Audi R8 V8 with a six-speed manual and put it back-to-back with the brand-new 2019 Audi R8 V10.
The 2007 car is actually the very same one that Jeremy Clarkson tested for Top Gear back when it was new and he still worked there. Since then, it had been sold to a private owner who modified it slightly and Audi UK bought it back and brought it back to its original fitment, while also repairing it and restoring it.
But is a clean bill of health enough to allow it to take on its newer offspring? Well, it’s a very different machine. Times were simpler then. The original Audi R8 uses a 4.2 liter naturally-aspirated V8 engine that revs past 8,000 rpm and makes a glorious noise. But its paired with a simple but excellent six-speed open-gate manual gearbox. It has analog gauges, an ancient sat-nav and an old-school attitude.
While the new car gets its screaming V10 that makes a lot more power and makes the car a lot faster. It also gets a slick-shifting dual-clutch gearbox, digital gauges and so much more technology. It’s also the much sharper, more frenetic car of the two.
But which is actually better? Well, got read TG’s article as it’s worth a read but the answer isn’t as cut and dried as that. The old Mk1 Audi R8 is more analog, more approachable. While the Mk2 Audi R8 is easier to drive yet more digital and disconnected, though also more technically impressive.