2020 Audi R8 Preview

2019
The Car Connection
2019
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Aaron Cole Aaron Cole Managing Editor
April 12, 2019

Buying tip

The 2020 Audi R8 goes on sale in summer 2020.

The 2020 Audi R8 is meticulous in its performance, a thrilling supercar without pretense.

The updated 2020 Audi R8 is supercar that’s serious about its speed.

Every model can exceed 200 mph and there’s hardly an ounce of fat on its newly sharpened body. While the R8’s competitors sport dihexahedral somethingorothers, Audi’s approach to performance is clinical.

This year, the R8 is updated and offers a special-edition model to celebrate its V-10 heritage before the engine is likely wiped from the planet forever.

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The 2020 Audi R8 goes on sale this summer and will cost more than $170,000 for a base coupe. Convertibles will cost at least $183,000, and if you’re in the mood to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the highbrow supercar that’ll cost at least $215,000—provided any of the 50 R8 Decennium coupes are left.

Style and performance

The 2020 Audi R8 isn’t a dramatic departure for the supercar—still seats two with a midship engine and side-mounted intakes. The last generation’s big blades are gone, but contrasting colors on the new car still harken back to those iconic strakes.

This year’s nose was updated with a honeycomb grille and lateral intakes. The body-color slabs up front are gone; this year, the R8’s fangs drop from the low-slung hood toward the ground.

The look is positively menacing, enhanced only in Decennium coupes that are only sold in metallic black shades.

Inside, the R8 is mostly identical to the 2018 version (the last year the R8 was available in the U.S.) with a 12.3-inch driver display, climate controls, two seats—and that’s it. Two new interior shades highlight the changes to the R8’s interior.

Under the hood—rather, the engine cover in the middle of the car—the 2020 R8 is a different story.

This year’s 5.2-liter V-10 gets massaged up to 562 horsepower, up 30 hp from 2018. The V-10 mashes 406 pound-feet of torque through a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic and metes power to all four wheels via Audi’s all-wheel-drive system. A rear-drive R8 was in the cards for 2018—but that version sold out quickly.

In R8 V10 Performance coupes and convertibles, the V-10 spins out 602 hp and 413 lb-ft.

Audi says base coupes and convertibles sprint to 60 mph in 3.4 or 3.5 seconds, respectively; V10 Performance coupes and convertibles do the deed in 3.2 or 3.3 seconds, respectively.

Provided you can find a runway long enough, even the base R8 will hit 201 mph and the R8 V10 Performance tops out at 205 mph. (Shave 1 mph from each in the convertible versions.)

The 7-speed automatic doles out shifts in fractions of a second, the gated manual shifter of yesteryear is sadly gone.

Through and through, the 2020 R8 is a top performer overall, even though similarly priced cars have more power, more hybrid tech, or lower acceleration times.

Comfort, safety, and features

The R8’s gift has always been its usability as a supercar. The cabin is comfortable for two—and only two—with room for small soft-sided bags. The cabin is conservative and functional, even if it’s a little sleepy compared to competitors.

Like other six-figure cars that aren’t crash tested, the R8 won’t be ruined in the name of safety rankings—we don’t suggest you take matters into your own hands.

Safety tech and features will be detailed by Audi when the car goes on sale, sometime later this year.

All R8s will be equipped with leather seats, 20-inch wheels, a 12.3-inch digital driver display that also handles infotainment duty, and premium audio. Optional features include a Bang & Olufsen sound system, carbon ceramic brakes, and a carbon fiber sway bar.

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