What Is It?
Although its styling updates are exceedingly subtle, the 2016 Audi R8 is the all-new, second-generation version of Audi’s Lamborghini-derived supercar. Based on the recently unveiled Huracan, Lambo’s latest midengine screamer, the 2016 R8 loses its formerly standard 4.2-liter V8, switching exclusively to V10 power this time around. The base 5.2-liter V10 cranks out 540 horsepower, a 15-hp improvement over the previous R8 V10, while a tweaked version boasting 610 hp will also be offered. Audi claims that 60 miles per hour arrives in barely more than 3 seconds, while the top speed exceeds 205 mph.
Disappointingly but not surprisingly, the Ferrari-like exposed-gate manual shifter has been discontinued, leaving the dual-clutch S tronic automated manual as the only available transmission. The good news is that this is one of the best robotic manuals on the market, ripping off crisp upshifts and perfectly rev-matched downshifts like you’re in a video game. Audi also touts the new R8’s revised quattro all-wheel-drive system, which allows up to 100 percent of the engine’s output to be sent to the rear wheels as circumstances dictate.
In case that all seems too gasoline-centric for your tastes, Audi is additionally preparing an R8 e-tron model that runs purely on electrons. Motivated by an electric motor with 456 hp and 679 lb-ft of torque, the R8 e-tron can hit 60 mph in well under 4 seconds. Audi claims that the R8 e-tron’s range on a full charge is a phenomenal 280 miles, and that under optimal conditions, a full recharge takes under 2 hours. Don’t expect to see an R8 e-tron in dealerships anytime soon, though Audi has said that it’ll be available to order this year.
Inside, the 2016 Audi R8 employs Audi’s new virtual cockpit, which means that all of its gauges and most vehicle functions are contained within the instrument cluster’s 12.3-inch display screen. There’s no longer any need for Audi’s familiar MMI screen in the middle of the dashboard; all you have to do is focus on the road ahead.
Audi plans to charge a starting price of 165,000 Euros on the home front, which converts to about $184,000.
When Can You Get It?
The 2016 R8 will debut this summer for the European market, and we expect a North American version shortly thereafter.
Add It to Your Shopping List Because…
You want a Lamborghini for a fraction of the price. That’s always been the way we’ve looked at the R8, and the second-generation model continues to follow the same script.
Other Cars to Consider
2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 — You simply can’t beat the Z06 for performance or price, and it looks awesome, too.
2015 Nissan GT-R — Like the R8, the GT-R comes standard with all-wheel drive. Although it’s getting on in years, it remains one of the most capable and user-friendly sports cars you can buy.
2015 Porsche 911 — The R8 competes on price with high-end 911s, but even a base 911 Carrera or Carrera S will provide beauty and thrills in equal measure.
Used Lamborghini Gallardo — Although the Gallardo served as the basis for the previous R8, it’s a fantastic car in its own right, and you can find a used specimen for less than you might think.