Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.
Though it’s been around going on eight years, Audi’s R8 exotic coupe for 2015 still looks and feels as fresh as its newest competitor, be that a Porsche 911 Turbo or Aston Martin Vantage. Delivering blistering performance and a sultry design, yet equally manageable as a daily driver, the R8 may just be the perfect sports car.
You'll Like The 2015 Audi R8 If...
If a 6-figure price isn’t a deterrent, Audi’s 2015 R8 supercar delivers more than just breathtaking performance. The concept-car styling still draws stares, yet this is one exotic that actually makes a very livable daily driver.
You May Not Like The 2015 Audi R8 If...
Purists will always shun all-wheel-drive (AWD) supercars, even when the power bias is shifted mostly to the rear wheels. For this reason, the 2015 Audi R8’s Quattro AWD system, though excellent, may be a deal killer.
Updates for 2015 are limited to a new optional sport exhaust on the V10 S Tronic and standard power-folding side mirrors. An available Alcantara headliner with diamond stitching and Laser Red-painted brake calipers round out the more extravagant options.
Despite the racy exterior the R8’s driver-oriented cabin is as luxurious and accommodating as one of Audi’s high-end sedans. During a multi-day journey through the Alps the R8 proved remarkably pleasant with much credit owed to the supportive and comfortable seats. Leather and Alcantara abound, and the interior layout is smartly arranged with controls placed within easy reach. Cargo space isn’t overflowing, but in the coupe there is two golf bags’ worth of space behind the front seats, supplementing the 3.5-cubic-foot compartment under the front hatch.
The 2-seat Audi R8 sports car is wide and low, accommodating an engine that sits in the middle of the car. Buyers can choose between hardtop and convertible Spyder body styles, the latter lacking the former’s icon “sideblades” while featuring a power-folding top that operates in 19 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph. Along with standard LED headlights, the 2015 R8’s taillights now feature a row of 30 LEDs that illuminate directionally outward when signaling, kind of like a Mustang but much cooler.
The hallmark of a great performance car is that it delivers awesome power and speed, yet never feels unwieldy or brutish. This is exactly what Audi serves up in the brilliant 2015 R8 exotic. Other than some shuddering from the rear under hard braking, pressing the R8 to its performance limits delivers predictable cornering with excellent grip, slight but controllable understeer and blistering straight-line runs. Off the track, Audi’s 2015 R8 supercar proves to be quite comfortable on back streets and open highways, despite a somewhat noisy cabin. While the V8 is certainly no slouch, it’s the brutal acceleration teamed with the guttural sound emanating from the R8 5.2’s V10 that makes one go all atingle. For reference, the V8-powered R8 coupe sprints to 60 mph in a scant 4.4 seconds, while the V10-powered car drops that time to the mid-3-second range.
A 2015 Audi R8 4.2 coupe with manual transmission carries a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) around $117,150 while the V10 model starts at $158,150, each including destination fees and a $3,000 gas-guzzler tax. Add an extra $16,500 to the bottom line for convertible Spyder models and an additional $9,000 if you favor the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. In its most expensive form, a loaded R8 V10 Plus coupe can reach beyond $185,000. At these prices, the R8 is comparable to Porsche 911 Turbo models and exotics from Aston Martin and Maserati. Be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price below for the most up-to-date pricing of the Audi R8 in your area. Down the road, we expect the R8 to have a slightly lower resale value than the Porsche.
Every 2015 Audi R8 comes standard with Quattro all-wheel drive, 19-inch wheels, xenon headlights, leather/Alcantara seats, Bluetooth with a seatbelt microphone for voice commands, and a magnetic ride system that lets you choose between Comfort and Sport modes. Versions with the 5.2-liter V10 come with a rearview camera, navigation and Nappa leather seats. Spyder versions have a power-folding fabric roof that can be opened or closed in 19 seconds, even while the car is in motion.
Audi’s 2015 R8 supercar can be further spruced up with add-ons like leather interior packages, diamond-pattern stitched seats, a package that clads portions of the vehicle in carbon fiber, and a black Alcantara headliner. V8 buyers might also be tempted by a very helpful parking-assistance package, which adds front and rear parking sensors as well as a rearview camera, or the brilliant-sounding Bang & Olufsen audio system that comes standard on the R8 V10.
S-TRONIC 7-SPEED DUAL-CLUTCH TRANSMISSIONUnlike traditional automatics, Audi’s R8 dual-clutch 7-speed S Tronic not only eliminates lag time and jerky shifts, it actually shifts faster than a manual while simultaneously improving both fuel economy and acceleration.METAL-GATED 6-SPEED MANUAL TRANSMISSIONSure, the S-Tronic is a fine transmission and it will do all the hard work for you, but in our eyes the R8’s 6-speed manual is still the transmission of choice. Excellent gear ratios guided by a metal gate around the shifter create an unbreakable bond between driver and car.
Under the Hood
The base engine is a 4.2-liter V8 that produces a perfectly thrilling 430 horsepower. Those who crave more horsepower or an even-more-visceral engine wail will prefer the optional V10, which churns out 525 horsepower in standard guise and 550 horsepower in the lightweight V10 Plus trim. Power is routed to the rear-biased all-wheel-drive system via a smooth and precise 6-speed manual transmission or a nearly as satisfying 7-speed dual-clutch automatic. All R8 models are subject to a gas-guzzler tax.4.2-liter V8430 horsepower @ 7,900 rpm317 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 11/20 mpg (manual), 14/23 mpg (automatic)5.2-liter V10525 horsepower @ 8,000 rpm391 lb-ft of torque @ 6,500 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 11/20 mpg (manual), 14/23 mpg (automatic)5.2-liter V10550 horsepower @ 8,000 rpm398 lb-ft of torque @ 6,500 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/19 mpg (manual), 13/22 mpg (automatic)
While exotic Italians like Ferrari and Lamborghini have become the pinup cars of teenagers everywhere, the 2015 Audi R8 is the supercar adults crave. Offered as a coupe or convertible, Audi’s sleek R8 sports car pampers its occupants with cutting-edge technology, fine fitted leather and Alcantara trim and a handsome dash replete with every gauge, meter and warning light a driving enthusiast could ask for. The R8 coupe – and its topless twin the 2015 R8 Spyder – is powered by either a robust 4.2-liter V8 or a raucous Lamborghini-sourced V10 that is mounted behind the front seats and powering all four wheels. While the V8 is powerful, it’s the V10 that allows the R8 to challenge cars like the Porsche 911 Turbo.