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SAFETY | 9 out of 10
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Standard safety features include four-wheel-disc antilock brakes
The problem with expensive exotic cars is that you're never really sure how well they perform in a crash.
That said, the Audi R8 gets our nod for safety because of Audi's long history of excellent crash-test performance and its strong, aluminum space frame.
The R8 hasn't been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)--and it's not likely to be tested, because of its high price tag and exclusivity.
Each R8 comes with all-wheel drive; dual front, side and knee airbags (no curtain airbags, not even on coupes); and anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control. The stability control can be dialed down to a performance mode that allows more wheelspin, a.k.a., more entertainment.
Two option packages for the V-8 cars come highly recommended. The parking sensors and rearview camera that come standard on the V-10 cars help immensely with backing up and parking the low-slung R8; putting it in reverse without those aids will end one day in heartache, we assure you. LED headlamps are another option we'd choose: they light more brightly, and oncoming drivers know you're in something distinctive.
The 2011 Audi R8 leans on its safety reputation, since neither crash-test agency wants to throw one into a wall.