Audi recently invited CH out to Southampton, NY on Long Island to take their new R8 V10 Spyder for a spin around the block. We accepted, as we rarely refuse to test the proficiency of local law enforcement and, with a top speed of around 197 mph, this car seemed an appropriate fit. We've been fans of the R8 design since its debut in 2008 as the rare, fast and distinctive flagship from the sporting side of the German brand. The R8 takes its name from an Audi racing prototype that had a serious hot streak at Le Mans and in its current iteration is Audi's fastest road car.
The V10 Spyder's beauty is matched—maybe even exceeded—by its engineering. An all-new 10-cylinder engine (previous models were eight cylinder) is controlled by another first for Audi: The new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. This power-train hurtles the lightweight two-seater from zero to 60 in a heart-pounding 3.6 seconds, and with little-to-no jolting between gears for a very smooth acceleration. Audi also added larger shifting paddles in the current model so if drivers want to go the manual route, it's easier to move from gear to gear—handy in a car that is fast enough to get away from a driver.
The most satisfying part of driving the R8 may actually be the downshifting. When laying off the gas in Sport Mode, this beast lets loose a deep bass-filled rumble while moving down gears. The depth of the engine sound is so remarkable that the first few times, we were convinced it was the sound-system bumping.
There is no denying the adrenaline delivered by the 525 horsepower sports car. When the pedal's to the floor there is a brief "uh-oh" moment—we caught ourselves praying the brakes were as good as the engine. But once around the first curve, all concerns go out the window because Audi's equipped Quattro All Wheel Drive provides unprecedented handling and control. Granted, driving on the outskirts of a town in Long Island doesn't mean track conditions, but on a brief straightaway on a lovely beach road we were able to hit 95 mph, while thoroughly convinced we were nowhere over 65.
This car even stole the show from the lovely family exiting a helicopter for their weekend away. The R8 V10 Spyder we drove retails for approximately $180,000 and is guaranteed to get attention on the highway.
Images by Greg Stefano