This may be the last year for the Audi R8, as we know it. As such, we suggest you snap one up as we consider the mid-engined R8 to be one of best supercars of the last decade.
The R8 enters 2021 with a compelling combination of blistering performance, all-wheel-drive (AWD) capability and comfort that is lacking in most rivals.
Some critics knock the R8 as being not as engaging to drive as a Ferrari or Lamborghini. But we would contest that assertion and counter that the R8 is plenty thrilling to drive and is practical as a daily driver, which is definitely not the case for the Italian competition.
As we enter the era of electric vehicles, the R8’s powerful and great sounding naturally aspirated V-10 engine stands as an outstanding example of the last of a breed of conventional high performance engines. The same powertrain can be found in the exotic and more expensive Lamborghini Huracan, which is a stunner in its own right. But at the end of the day the Audi R8 makes more sense in our view.
What’s new for 2021?
Audi has reorganized the model line-up so that the entry-level Coupe and Spyder models are now rear-wheel-drive, versus AWD of the previous editions. This means R8 buyers will start with 532 horsepower from the V-10 powertrain, down from 562 hp in last year’s AWD model.
To experience the full-blown 602 hp available from the V-10, it’s necessary to step up to the R8 Performance Coupe and Performance Spyder models, which top $200,000. Find a 2021 Audi R8 for sale
What We Like
- Supercar performance
- Thrilling engine sound
- Comfort level
- Sophisticated infotainment system
- Relative practicality
What We Don’t
- Heavy fuel consumption
- Tame design vs Huracan
For 2021 the R8’s price ladder starts at $145,895 for the RWD Coupe and rockets to $211,695 for the Performance Spyder Quattro (AWD).
By their nature, supercars like the Audi R8 are not going to stretch a gallon of gas very far. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the AWD R8 at 13 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway.
Standard Features and Options
The RWD R8 Coupe ($145,895, including $1495 destination charge and $1700 gas guzzler tax) and Spyder ($158,095) models both are equipped with the 532-hp 5.2-liter V-10 engine, coupled to a 7-speed automatic transmission. Stepping up to the R8 Performance Coupe quattro ($200,295, including $1495 destination charge and $2100 gas guzzler tax) and Spyder Quattro ($211,695) brings a power boost to 602-hp and AWD. All R8 versions ride on 20-in. wheels.
Standard equipment inside the two-seat cockpit includes 18-way-power operated, heated Nappa leather seats. Audi’s MMI navigation and infotainment system and power folding, heated and dimming door mirrors.
An optional $7000 premium package adds Alcantara headliner, extra leather trim, a Bang & Olufsen sound system and illuminated door sill inlays.
\Moving up the AWD performance versions brings front and rear ceramic disc brakes, carbon fiber door sill inlays, racing seats and a carbon-fiber rear wing.
Among many options is a $5000 performance design package, which includes more Alcantara trim on the seats and steering wheel, as well as blue brake calipers.
Like most other supercars, the R8 is light on the sort of driver aids and safety features now found on many mass-market cars. The car is equipped with airbags as well as standard automatic headlight dipping and parking sensors.
Behind the Wheel
Audi are renown for stylish and beautifully crafted interiors. The R8 cabin leans more to the purposeful rather than stylish in terms of design and materials, but that is fitting given its hard core sporting aspirations.
With 0-60 mph times in the low to mid 3-second range and top speeds that top 200 mph, the R8 is a true supercar. But compared to most rivals it is not intimidating to drive, easy to see out of and comfortable over long distances.
In short, the R8 may not be the flashiest supercar on the block, but it is probably the one you would be happiest to drive on a regular basis.
Other Cars to Consider
2021 Chevrolet Corvette – Though the latest, mid-engined C8 Corvette has not yet achieved supercar status, it is close and at half the price of an Audi R8, it is worth considering.
2021 Lamborghini Huracan – For sheer visual drama, it’s hard to beat the Huracan. And with the same mighty V-10 powertrain as the R8, what’s not to like, except the price.
2021 Porsche 911 Turbo – There’s no ignoring this 911 model, which blends brilliant performance and handling, AWD capability and a 2 plus 2 cockpit practicality.
Used Porsche 911 – You can pick up a nicely equipped used 911 with AWD and a powerful engine for less than the base R8.
While the enthusiast in us would say go for the R8 Performance model with the full 602-hp, our sensible self would recommend saving some $50,000 and being perfectly happy with the RWD R8. Find a 2021 Audi R8 for sale