The 2012 Audi R8 Coupe Review
Full Review by Andy: Drivers, to Your Cars!
You and I are not going to buy a 2012 Audi R8 coupe. We may have hopes and five years’ worth of pennies piled up, but the R8 is no more real to you and me than unicorns or the Cleveland Browns winning the Super Bowl. Therefore, let us engage in the best alternative to buying: bench racing.
What Does It Look Like?
In this Grand Prix/Vanishing Point fantasy, I am driving the Audi R8, and you are driving one of its competitors. As we begin our race, let us check out each others’ rides. Although good looks are in no short supply in the exotic sports car department, the R8 coupe has something special: beauty. Rivals like the Lexus LFA and Ferrari FF are striking, but not handsome. However, the R8’s sideblades, aggressive barred grille, and LED daytime running lights give it beauty as well as distinction. Check out 80+ images of the stunning 2012 Audi R8 Coupe.
See color options for the 2012 Audi R8.
Trappings & Trimmings
Those of you driving a Chevy Corvette, take heed. Unlike other budget supercars, the Audi R8 does not eschew proper craftsmanship. The Neckarsulm factory where the R8 is manufactured limits production to 29 cars per day, scanned by lasers to ensure dimensional precision. A four circle-style instrument cluster peeks through a flat-bottomed steering wheel, which is placed adjacent to a large knurled shift knob and driver-oriented control cluster.
Packin’ a Powertrain
In base form, the R8 uses a 430-horespower 4.2-liter direct-injected V8. For only 35k extra, Audi will endow your R8 with a 5.2-liter V10 that boosts power output to 525 horsepower at a screaming 8,000 rpm, 700 rpm short of the redline. A Lamborghini-sourced six-speed manual is standard while Audi’s R Tronic automated manual is optional. The R Tronic transmission is generally more efficient than the manual transmission, but peeves most any enthusiast that tries to wring life out of the antiquated relic.
Gentlemen, ladies, start your engines.
I’m winning! Courtesy of standard Quattro AWD and gargantuan 19-inch rims, the R8 can direct torque to wherever required, affording immense and instantaneous traction and limiting wheel spin.
Were I to be driving the mad-man Audi R8 5.2, which uses the same engine as in the R8 LMS GT3 race car, the needle would have reached 60 mph 0.3 seconds ago. That’s an amazing 0 to 60 time of 3.7 seconds! So equipped, the R8 has a top track speed of 196 mph. But for the purposes of this bench race, I am driving the R8 4.2, and I don’t hit 60 mph until 4.4 seconds.
-Twenty Five Seconds!
We have just exited a series of twists and turns. My adaptive dampers have kept me flat and fast. Those driving a Corvette ZR1 have probably spun out (trying to handle that beast takes talent). Those driving a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Gullwing have most definitely spun out. Those driving a Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS or 911 Turbo are a) sipping less gas and b) carefully sliding past me on the turns. The Nissan GT-R and Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera are so far ahead, I can’t even spot their taillights. The Audi R8 is immensely capable, but it isn’t as raw as some other supercars.
Parking sensors and a review camera are elective, while rain-sensing wipers, an autodimming rearview mirror, and self-leveling xenon headlamps are standard.
Comfort & Cargo
The Audi R8 has gained a reputation as a capable daily driver. This is nonsense. Although it offers a relatively quiet and comfortable highway cruise, the R8 lacks the sheer space needed for daily duties. Due to its mid-engine design, trunk space is a miserable 3.5 cubic feet. Even the interior storage shelf, glove compartment, and consoles are on the small side. However, the two-seat coupe can host six-footers and has pristine fit and finish along with durable materials. The R8 wallops the pants off a Gallardo, but is it practical? Not quite.
While Porsche strips its supercars down to the naked basics, Audi dresses the R8 with lavish equipment. Notable amenities include heated ten-way power front seats with Alcantara upholstery, automatic climate control, Bluetooth, and a seven-speaker audio system with satellite radio. Options for the 4.2 include upgraded leather upholstery, an iPod interface, a 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, and a navigation system, all of which are standard on the 5.2. Click here for a full list of features.
To the checkered flags we go!
Engine: 4.2-liter V8, 5.2-liter V10
Horsepower & Torque:
V8: 430 hp @7,900, 317 lb-ft of torque @4,500 rpm
V10: 525 hp @8,000 rpm, 391 lb-ft of torque @6,500 rpm
Transmission: six-speed manual, six-speed shiftable single-clutch automated manual
Fuel Economy: 11/20 mpg – 13/21 mpg
Base MSRP: $114,200
Top 0 to 60: 3.7 seconds
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