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STYLING | 10 out of 10
Larger than life and even better than expected
The carbon-fiber detailing is of extraordinary visual quality
Luxury has replaced compromise inside the supercar cockpit
Kelley Blue Book
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.
Although its low silhouette and angular sideblades give the 2010 Audi R8 a bit of a stealth appearance, this isn't the kind of car that you can drive without attracting some serious attention.