The 2020 Audi R8 needs no introduction. Audi took a big risk in introducing a halo performance car way back in 2008, and it quickly paid off, helping to elevate the brand firmly into the ranks of BMW and Mercedes, and the R8’s performance acumen has now trickled down throughout the rest of the company’s lineup. Here in 2020, Audi’s performance-oriented S and RS models are more popular than ever, and Audi has taken to offering more and more of them in recent years than ever before — all thanks to the halo effect of the R8.
Now in its second generation, the R8 ditches the 4.2-liter V8 originally offered as a base engine in the first-generation model and now comes exclusively with V10 power. While it debuted as a budget alternative to vehicles like the Ferrari 458, the R8 came with a base price of around $110,000 — or around $135,000 in today’s terms — the current model has gotten significantly more expensive, and now carries a base price of over $170,000 when you factor in destination fees. Still, the R8 is a relative bargain when compared to supercars from the Italians. Speaking of the Italians, just like the first-generation R8 shared its underpinnings and V10 engine with the Lamborghini Gallardo, the current one shares its platform with the Gallardo’s successor, the Huracan, but offers considerably different styling and equipment.
Altogether, the R8 remains one of the more compelling sports cars on the market today in terms of both performance and exclusivity.
What’s New for 2020?
The R8 receives a mid-life cycle face-lift for 2020. Plus models have been renamed "Performance" for 2020. Styling has been tweaked slightly. There’s a new front bumper and grille with air intakes above it, a new rear bumper with honeycomb-shaped air outlets, oval tailpipes and an updated rear diffuser, plus new wheels.
Power output increases slightly in the regular R8 Coupe and Spyder models, which see a bump from 532 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque to 562 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque.
Two new colors join: Kemora Gray Metallic, which is available on all models, and Ascari Blue Metallic, which is exclusive to V10 Performance models.
Finally, a new limited-edition R8 V10 Decennium model joins for 2020, but only in extremely limited numbers. In total, 222 will be produced in the world, only 50 of which will come to the United states. See the 2020 Audi R8 models for sale near you
What We Like
- Outstanding performance
- Attractive styling
- Excellent interior
- Good infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Larger dealer network than the exotic brands
What We Don’t
- Pricing has increased significantly over the years
- It isn’t a Porsche, a Ferrari or a Lamborghini, despite being priced like one
- No more manual transmission option
The R8 packs a 5.2-liter V10, which it shares with the Lamborghini Huracan. In the regular R8, output is 532 horsepower and 398 lb-ft of torque, while in the R8’s Performance trim, the V10 is rated at 602 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque. All models employ the same 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive. While a rear-wheel drive model will be available for Europe starting in 2020, it appears that we’ll have to wait a bit to see this model in U.S. showrooms. If and when the RWD R8 does go on sale in the U.S., expect it to be positioned at the bottom of the R8 lineup as the most affordable option.
Regardless of bodystyle or trim level, the 2020 Audi R8 is rated at 13 miles per gallon in the city, 20 mpg on the highway and 16 mpg in combined driving.
Standard Features and Options
The entry-level R8 V10 Coupe ($171,150) comes standard with 562 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque, a 7-speed dual clutch automatic transmission, a magnetic-ride suspension, Audi’s fully-digital 12.3-in "Virtual Cockpit" instrument cluster with navigation, a Bang & Olufsen sound system, an electric rear spoiler, full LED headlights, 19-in wheels, LED taillights with progressive turn signals, illuminated aluminum door sill inlays, an Alcantara headliner, dual-zone automatic climate control, an autodimming interior rearview mirror with a compass, LED interior lights, a flat-bottom steering wheel with R8 badging and a red push-to-start button, Nappa leather, heated power adjustable sport seats with memory functionality, cruise control, an integrated garage door opener and automatic high beams.
Options consist of different wheels, Audi’s LED Laserlight headlights ($3,500), contrast stitching ($500), an upgraded diamond-stitched full leather package ($5,000), red brake calipers ($700), ceramic brakes ($9,900), carbon interior ($3,400) and exterior ($5,600) accents and a Dynamic steering system that adds a speed-dependent variable steering ratio ($1,400).
The R8 V10 Spyder ($183,350) comes with the same features and options as the R8 V10 Coupe but adds a power folding soft-top.
The R8 V10 Performance Coupe ($197,150) and Spyder ($209,350) make 602 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque and come standard with ceramic brakes, a carbon-fiber trim inside and out, titanium finish on the front spoiler, rocker inlays, a rear diffuser and a a rear spoiler.
Options unique to the R8 V10 Performance include a carbon finish for the front spoiler, rocker inlays, a rear diffuser ($7,200), black Audi rings and badges ($300), a carbon-fiber front sway bar ($1,100) and the Bang & Olufsen sound system that comes standard on the regular R8 ($1,900).
The R8 V10 Decennium ($216,245) is a special-edition R8 available for 2020. Only 222 will be made in total, 50 of which will be designated for the U.S. market. Based on the R8 Performance, the Decennium is only available as a coupe and comes exclusively in Mythos Black Metallic with a black interior. Enhancements are for the most part cosmetic and include matte bronze wheels and intake manifolds, a gloss black spoiler, side sills, a diffuser, gloss carbon-fiber side blades, rear wings, mirror housings, a unique interior trim and Decennium badging.
Exclusive supercars typically aren’t crash tested, and neither the government-run National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has evaluated the R8 for crashworthiness.
Despite being a technologically advanced $170,000 supercar, the R8 is pretty light on safety features. Automatic high beams are included, as are parking sensors and a rearview camera, but features like automatic emergency braking, radar cruise control, lane-departure warning and even blind spot monitoring are nowhere to be found. Anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control, and daytime running lights are standard, as expected.
Behind the Wheel
The R8’s cabin is everything you’d expect from a high-end sports car from a German automaker. Leather and aluminum finish is everywhere, from the door panels to the pedals to the gear lever. There’s a flat-bottom steering wheel with a big red start button, paddle shifters and high-end features all around. One unique element is that the R8 forgoes a traditional center infotainment screen in favor of positioning everything in front of the driver in the gauge cluster in Audi’s "Virtual Cockpit" setup. This means that all vehicle settings, media and navigation is viewed under the instrument panel, and the center stack is left for HVAC controls and an air vent. Audi’s MMI controls for the Virtual Cockpit are still where you’d expect them on the center console.
The R8’s lack of available active safety systems is a bit of a letdown given how easy the it is to use this vehicle as a daily driver. We’d like to at least see blind spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking and radar cruise control added to the equation.
Performance obviously leaves little to be desired. AWD means the R8 has loads of grip. The regular R8 V10 goes from 0-60 in 3.4 seconds and runs the quarter mile in about 11.3 seconds, while the Performance model needs just 3.2 seconds and 10.8 seconds. Top speed is roughly twice as fast as you could ever safely drive. Needless to say, the R8 is an incredible performance car.
Other Cars to Consider
2020 Chevrolet Corvette — The long-awaited midengine Corvette costs less than half as much as the R8 and will likely offer similar performance, albeit with RWD and a less sophisticated badge on the hood.
2020 Lamborghini Huracan — The R8 shares its platform and engine with the Huracan, and thus the two vehicles offer similar features and performance. While neither vehicle is a common sight on the road, the Huracan is more expensive and more exclusive. You’ll have to wait for the RWD R8, but a RWD Huracan is on sale now.
2020 Porsche 911 Turbo — Given the brand’s heritage and following, you can’t go wrong with a Porsche. The 911 is all-new for 2020 and buyers can pick up a Turbo model for about what you’d pay for a well-optioned R8.
Used Ferrari 488 — Ferraris are kind of the be-all and end-all when it comes to supercar ownership, and buyers should be able to pick up a pre-owned 488 for the price of an R8. The 488 packs a midmounted twin-turbo V8 and RWD.
While other supercar models out there carry a little more weight with regard to name recognition, the R8 flies under the radar as a subtler alternative to high-end exotics from the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini. As far as supercars go, the R8 stands out for its appearance, but that isn’t to say its powertrain and performance aren’t up to par, as the R8 can hang with the best of them. If you’re looking to take your R8 to the track, the Performance model might make sense, but beyond that, we’d probably stick with the basic street-oriented model — 562 hp is more than enough. Find an Audi R8 for sale