There’s no question about it, the Audi R8 V10 is one of the absolute fastest cars on sale. In standard R8 V10-guise, not the more powerful V10 Plus version, it makes 540 hp from its 5.2 liter naturally-aspirated V10 engine. So being one of the fastest cars on sale, can the Audi R8 keep up with a luxury hybrid sedan?
In this new drag race from Autocar, the Audi R8 V10 takes on the Porsche Panamera Turbo S E Hybrid, which is admittedly much more impressive than calling it a luxury hybrid sedan suggests. It uses a 4.0 liter twin-turbocharged V8, electric motor and battery pack to make a combined 680 hp and 626 lb-ft of torque. So it’s considerably more powerful than the R8 V10. Having said that, though, the Panamera also weighs considerably more than the Audi R8, tipping the scales at over 5,000 lbs. Or as much as a medium-sized asteroid.
So can the lighter, stickier Audi R8 V10 take on the vastly powerful Porsche Panamera Turbo S E Hybrid? In a word, no.
We honestly expected the R8 to get the jump on the Porsche but then have the big hybrid catch up and win in the end. Except the Porsche simply exploded off the line like Randy Moss and flew down the runway with the R8 constantly trying to catch up. And the V10 supercar never stood a chance.
The instant electric torque of the Panamera completely fills in the slight bit of turbo lag of the Panamera’s twin-turbo V8, allowing it to launch violently off the line. While the Audi R8 uses a naturally-aspirated engine, so it needs to rev to make power. And even though the R8’s V10 revs incredibly quickly, it can’t match the instantaneous torque of the Panamera Hybrid. And then the Porsche’s significant power advantage helps it pull away.
So despite weighing more than an average adult elephant, the Porsche Panamera Turbo S E Hybrid absolutely destroys the Audi R8 V10. An incredibly impressive achievement. And it also gives us hope for the upcoming Audi RS7, as it’s rumored to have a version of this hybrid powertrain as an option.