Performance is the reason the R8 exists at all, and it doesn't disappoint. Audi drops its 4.2-liter V-8 in the R8 for output of 420 hp at 7,800 rpm. The R8 can hit 60 mph in less than five seconds, and can reach a top speed of 185 mph, Automobilemag.com says. Despite this, the Audi R8 still earns EPA ratings of 17 mpg.
A six-speed manual transmission is standard. For $9,000 extra, it gets a 6-speed automated-manual transmission with a manual-shift sport mode. Cars.com thinks the optional gearbox delivers "ponderous upshifts in normal driving." Our editors think it's a rough shifter for everyday driving, and a hammer at track speeds, where it blips the throttle and shifts more quickly than almost any human can.
With the engine located behind the seats, and with an aluminum body, the R8 weighs just 3,400 pounds and has excellent weight distribution. It's a relative lightweight, compared to the Gallardo. Nonetheless, according to Forbes Auto, it outweighs the Porsche 911 and the Chevy Corvette.
Cars.com calls the Audi's ride a "pleasant surprise," and "comfortable beyond anyone's expectations." The R8 has an advanced suspension with front and rear wishbones and adaptive dampers that adjust for different road conditions.
Road & Track thinks the R8 has some other neat tricks, including an all-wheel-drive system that makes it feel like a rear-drive sportscar. It's a "confidence-inspiring safety net."
Automobile calls the brakes firm and steady, with best in class stopping performance from 62 to 0 mph in 112 feet.