First drive: 2016 Audi R8 V10 Plus in the UAE

First drive: 2016 Audi R8 V10 Plus in the UAE

Audi R8 at Yas Marina (18)

When the first generation Audi R8 was launched in 2007, it caused quite a stir with its supercar looks, while combining it with daily drivability and good performance. For Audi, it likely wasn’t easy coming up with a new one. After almost a decade, the German luxury automaker has launched the new-generation R8. Still keeping the somewhat-similar exterior look with more edgier styling, the latest R8 is actually all-new from the ground up. Sadly, the V8 engine is gone, which we rather enjoyed in the previous model. However, the brilliant V10 is still there, which we had a go with on the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.

The 5.2-litre FSI V10 is currently the only engine offered under the hood and is available in two different tunes, with the standard one getting 540 hp and the V10 Plus churning out 610 hp. The range-topping V10 Plus model, which we got to drive on the track, accelerates from 0-100 kph in a claimed 3.2 seconds. Keep flooring it and the car goes to a maximum speed of 330 kph. A 7-speed S tronic transmission and a newly-developed Quattro all-wheel-drive system transmit the power to the road.

Audi R8 at Yas Marina (15)

There are new functions added for the paddle shifters which we got to try during one of the exercises on the track. By pressing both the paddle-shifters, the gear shifts to neutral while parked or moving. Also by keeping the right paddle-shifter pressed while driving in manual mode, the gear automatically upshifts to the appropriate gear according to your speed. Similarly, holding on to the left paddle-shifter downshifts to the right gear for best acceleration.

When it comes to driving feel, the previous-generation V10 Plus definitely left a big impression on us. The new model provides us with the same thrills, with its instant throttle response and sharp handling. It sounds like a Lamborghini Huracan, loud and grunty as expected. The all-wheel-drive system gives a lot of confidence when entering turns, with the electronic aids quick to react when correcting the driver to reduce any chances of oversteer. The upgraded dual-clutch gearbox also helps speed things along with its instant shifts. And the ceramic brakes were fade-free and hauls down the car quickly before corners.

2016 Audi R8 (7)

Inside the R8 cockpit, the functions are driver-oriented and allows easy operation as most of the performance settings can be accessed through the steering-wheel buttons. One button is for performance mode coupled with a rotary wheel for selecting the dry, wet and snow modes, while another button is for controlling the sports exhaust system. It also gets newly-developed bucket seats which are standard in the V10 Plus and optional on the regular V10.

On the dashboard, different information can displayed on the 12.3-inch display that replaces the entire gauge cluster. In performance mode, the driver has access to data on the driving modes, acceleration, deceleration and lateral forces as well as power and torque. It also displays a shift light to indicate when to upshift during spirited driving in manual mode. All this info can be navigated by using the multi-function steering wheel itself, or else you can use secondary rotary-wheel controller on the centre console.

Audi R8 at Yas Marina (6)

The Audi R8 still manages to keep all that supercar feel without the impracticality of a supercar. It is still something you can use everyday, while getting a bit more performance out of the already-capable V10 motor, plus adding new technology to the interior, which honestly was starting to feel dated in the previous-gen model. As for that new edgier design, we absolutely love it.

For UAE prices and GCC specs, visit the Audi buyer guide.

Photos by Audi Middle East.

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