Top Gear drives the Audi R8 V10 Performance

Now that the Audi R8 has received its final update, it’s time to give it its last reviews. In about a year or so, the R8 as we know it will be gone forever. Sure, it might return as an electric supercar but it will not longer be the free-breathing, screaming V10 supercar that we’ve come to know and love over the years. Before it goes, though, Audi has given it a bit of a facelift and a slight power bump. Top Gear’s just reviewed it and considers it one of Audi’s all-time greats. And it’s all about the engine.

The new face we’ve documented already. It’s angrier looking and more angular but it’s probably not any better looking than it was. Also, it seems to be getting further and further away from the beautiful and graceful first-gen R8, the car Tony Stark blew enthusiasts’ minds with back in 2008. Rather than be smooth and elegant like that car, this new one is all fangs, scoops and fake grilles.

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Inside, it’s really no different than before but that’s not really a bad thing. The interior of the R8 was always quite good and this one is no different. A bit old, sure, but good looking, comfortable and well-made.

What matters is what sits immediately behind the driver’s head. That 5.2 liter rampaging V10 is a masterpiece and needs to be remembered forever. It makes 612 hp in this new ‘Performance’ guise but that really makes no difference. It’s as bonkers fast as the last car and, more importantly, the noise is still present. It sounds masterful, the R8, with the sort of mechanical wail that makes the hairs on your arms stand up. It’s beautiful and hilarious at the same time. It’s also really hard not to smile and laugh when revving it out.

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Top Gear reckons the engine is worth getting the car and the rest of it is merely good, not spectacular. As supercars go, it’s hard to argue that. That naturally-aspirated V10 engine is what makes the Audi R8 great, among its smaller-engine turbocharged peers. What’s ironic is that the very thing that makes the R8 one of Audi’s all-time greats is actually Italian and comes from Lamborghini.

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.