Review: Audi's new R8 V10 Plus supercar fit for Iron Man
The 2017 Audi R8 V10 Plus Quattro supercar is no Iron Man, but it flies, thanks to a lightweight, aluminum-intensive structure and body, carbon-fiber trim and a heroic 610-horsepower naturally aspirated 5.2-liter V10 engine.
The midengine super car claims a 3.2-second 0-to-60 mile-per-hour time and 205-mph top speed. Floor it, and you’ll probably lose your nerve before you find out if it takes to the air. The carefully balanced chassis’ handling is so sharp, the car seems controlled by your thoughts, negotiating high-speed corners as fast and smoothly as you turn your head.
Developed to compete with exotic performance cars such as the Acura NSX, BMW i8, Chevrolet Corvette ZO6, Mercedes AMG GT S and Porsche 911 Turbo S, the new R8 is a major advance for Audi. It's faster and more efficient than its predecessor.
Prices for the new R8 start at $162,900. The all-wheel-drive, 10-cylinder engine with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission develops 540 horsepower.
The V10 Plus model ratchets performance up considerably. It’s 110 pounds lighter than the base model but has 610 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque, thanks to revised gearing and tweaks in the engine controls. Prices for the R8 V10 Plus start at $189,900. In addition to more power, the premium pays for a lightweight performance suspension, replacing the base car’s adaptive magnetic control, surprisingly comfortable racing shell seats, ceramic brakes and carbon-fiber trim and functional pieces.
I tested a nicely equipped R8 V10 Plus that stickered at $201,500, including a federal gas-guzzler tax. All prices exclude destination charges.
Audi will add an R8 roadster, less expensive models with smaller engines, and possibly an electric model, later.
The Audi is low and wide, with an interior that hugs two occupants. The thin racing shell-style seats are surprisingly comfortable for parts selected to save weight. My car’s interior had black Nappa leather, diamond-stitched upholstery and an Alcantara headliner with matching diamond stitching.
R8 V10 prices are competitive with super sports cars, as if that mattered to the likes of Tony Stark and me. The Corvette ZO6 is an outlier, with significantly more power for a much lower price, suggesting Chevy’s widely speculated midengine 'Vette should be a showcase for advanced technologies and far-out materials, not just a performance play.
We hope the fictional Stark Industries — Tony Stark's business from the Iron Man movies in which he is seen driving an R8 — is working on that.
What Stands Out
Speed: It's faster than the outgoing model.
Comfort: Love those backside-gripping racing seats.
Price: Even Iron Man might whince.
2017 Audi R8 V10 Plus Quattro
What? A two-seat super car.
When? On sale now.
Where? Made in Heilbronn, Germany.
How big? 14.3 feet long.
What makes it go? A 5.7-liter V-10 engine.
How thirsty? 14 miles per gallon in the city, 22 mpg on the highway and 17 mpg combined.
How much? Our test model stickered at $201,500, including delivery fees and the federal gas-guzzler tax.
Overall? Makes any driver fly like Iron Man.