The 2011 Audi R8 looks every bit the exotic, from its audacious silhouette, to the dramatic sideblades that have become its boomerang-like calling card.
The R8 is a low-flying wedge, with its own tailor-made style. It's not derivative of anything we can think of in the exotic-car past, but it's strikingly ready for high-speed runs on camera. It's that good-looking. Typical for a German car, the most playful styling cues still play a part in the R8's staggering performance. Those sideblades on coupes aren't just a fabulous piece of high-tech imagery: they cover channels for engine cooling and brake venting. Some frippery exists, but not to the levels of one of the more shameless micro-brand exotics. The nose's LED light bar is as showy as it gets; engine sits under a glass cover and LED illumination like a museum piece--or something to be purloined, a Mission: Impossible for moneyed drivers.
The cabin strikes a note like the old Acura NSX, functional to the highest level with a low instrument cowl and easily-found controls surrounded by no-nonsense finishes, fitted expertly. Plenty of buttons and controls dot the R8's dash but it's not chaotic, like it could be.
Spotters can tell V-10 cars from the V-8 versions by the details. The V-10 wears more black and chrome trim, wider side sills, gloss-black sideblades, oval exhaust pipes and a distinct set of gauges, gear shift knob and door handles.