2015 Audi R8 Performance

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Performance

Under the skin, the Audi R8 borrows a few bits and pieces from Lamborghini's outgoing Gallardo, making this car a legitimate supercar, with a few of the German's milder manners.

Last year Audi introduced a 550-hp R8 V10 Plus. It amped up power from the 5.2-liter V-10 by 25 hp total, and cut its 0-60 mph time to 3.5 seconds. Top speed checks in at about 197 mph. The V10 Plus is quicker because Audi trims 110 pounds from the V10 Coupe while it also retunes the suspension and the power transfer ratios of its standard all-wheel-drive system. With the dual-clutch transmission, this super-powerful two-seater is truly fun, and truly capable.

Balanced all-wheel-drive handling and a fantastic dual-clutch transmission make the R8 one of the most usable supercars.

Audi still sells a 6-speed manual R8, as well as a V-8 version of the sportscar, too, in both Spyder and Coupe form. In the V-8, some light tweaks boost power to 430 hp from the 4.2-liter V-8.

The V-8 can feel light on torque at the lower rev range, but it still can dash to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds, versus 3.6 seconds in the V-10. For what it's worth, the delicious V-10 engine noises don't really show up until the tach needle spins halfway around, which we love doing anyway.

Dial the R8 into sport mode and it comes alive. Smooth and capable on the street, it's devoid of the jerky transmission shifts it used to offer with an automated-manual gearbox it ditched in 2014. The car comes alive on the track in sport mode, where the dual-clutch hard-wires itself to the driver's brain, and the all-wheel-drive system delivers all the innate balance the layout implies.

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