If you aren’t familiar, Ignition is Motor Trend’s YouTube channel for doing road/track tests of single cars. It’s their video review platform for the newest and more exciting sports cars and supercars on the market. Today, in their latest episode, we get to take a look at the Audi R8 V10 Plus and see how it does in the eyes of MT.
What’s to say that hasn’t already been said about the new Audi R8 V10 Plus? It packs a 5.2 liter 610 hp V10, pulled from the Lamborghini Huracan, which is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch S-Tronic gearbox that drives all four wheels. It has the recipe to be a proper supercar. But the best part about the new Audi R8 is the fact that its engine, in either normal or Plus state of tune, is naturally-aspirated. That means no turbochargers or superchargers are mounted to this engine and that makes for the best throttle response and the best noise. Something we get to learn a lot about in this video.
When they hit the road in the Audi R8, we get to hear that magnificent V10 engine. Without turbochargers sapping the noise or superchargers drowning it out with obnoxious whine, the V10 is free to sing its beautiful song. By beautiful, I mean loud, angry and snarling. It’s an intoxicating noise, one that will make any R8 owner bury the throttle at every given opportunity. Johnny Lieberman, the host of this week’s Ignition, seems to feel the same way about it and is very relieved that Audi has gone N/A instead of turbo or supercharged.
Lieberman also lauds the S-Tronic gearbox for its incredibly responsive shifts and usability. He even goes as far as to say that it’s as good as Porsche’s PDK dual-clutch gearbox, which is typically the considered to be the best in the business. With that gearbox, the R8’s V10 is free to rev all the way up to its near-9,000 rpm redline and fire off rifle-shot upshifts.
On the road, Lieberman claims that the Audi R8 V10 Plus is not only better than its predecessor but possibly one of the best supercars in the world to attack a twisty road with. It’s a ton of fun, according to him. It’s also insanely fast. Using launch control, Motor Trend was able to record a barely-believable 0-60 mph time of just 2.6 seconds. That crushes the Ferrari 488 GTB and even the McLaren 650s. But many cars tend to behave differently at the race track, so they take it to Willow Springs and put pro racing driver, Randy Pobst, at the helm to see how it holds up.
On the track, there are a few things that remain the same. The suspension and chassis are incredibly composed, with the ability to attack corners at very high speeds and feel perfectly stable and safe. The engine is also fantastic and so is the gearbox for track use. However, at those super high speed and at the very limit of its capabilities, the Audi R8 actually tends to understeer…A lot. Too much for Pobst, who says that the understeer is so severe that it will likely cost the R8 a few seconds at the end of a lap. He was right.
After a side-by-side comparison of the Audi R8 and Lamborghini Huracan, the R8 is a little over four seconds slower. Blame the understeer for that. However, Johnny Lieberman suspected that something else was afoot and took a look at the tires. After a couple of warm up laps, the tires had lost a lot of their grip and effectiveness. This is likely the culprit of the understeer. Lieberman reached out to Audi to ask if a more aggressive tire was available on the R8 from the factory and there is. A Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup 2 tire is available on the R8 and, as that’s one of the most aggressive road-legal tires on the market, will likely quell most of that understeer issue and help the R8 significantly on the track.
However, with the tires that this Audi R8 V10 Plus came with, Motor Trend came away very impressed. It handled and drove spectacularly on the road, was capable of blistering performance and ultimately is one of the most exciting cars money can buy. So, if you’re in the market for a supercar, the Audi R8 V10 Plus should be where you look first. Just make sure to get the Michelins.