A history lesson...
With the Volkswagen Group as parent company to both Audi and Lamborghini, the Audi R8 was introduced as an accessible alternative to but still based upon the Lambo Gallardo platform to help keep development costs down. It was originally launched in 2006 with Audi's 4.2-litre V8 414bhp engine, with a V12 Tdi diesel added in 2008 and the Gallardo's 5.2-litre V10 518bhp in 2009. As Audi's first really convincing sports car, the R8 road car uses their distinctive Quattro all-wheel drive system and was created by Quattro GmbH, Audi Ag's high-performance arm, on the back of the success of the R8 race car. Since its release, the new Audi R8 has blown away the competition, winning a slew of awards and a reputation as a real driver's car, putting Audi on a level footing with premium German rivals BMW and Mercedes.
Bang for your buck
With the build quality you'd expect from an Audi but more unconventional looks than their usual, the R8 is a roomy, mid-engined two seater. While maybe a little stingy on luggage space, the R8 has some funky styling details to note, such as the varied colour combinations available on the side air channel blades or the R8 logo etched into the headlights' main beam reflectors. The slightly sinister looking LED running lamps surrounding the light pod that were originally introduced with the R8 have since been extended to the entire Audi range. Interior visibility is impressive and the car is available with both a six-speed manual and a semi-automatic sequential R tronic gearbox. Factory supplied tyres are Continental SportContact3 or Pirelli P-Zero Rosso. Convertible and Coupe versions are available in addition to a limited edition GT.
What you'll pay
The original 56-plate used Audi R8's from 2006 were £83,000 at the time and you could still expect to pay up to £58,000, plus an extra grand for the sequential gearbox version with paddle shifts. Knock off a couple of years and you're looking at closer to £70,000 for a manual. Insurance is group 20.
What to check
A typical used Audi R8 will be supplied to spec way above standard level, with extras worth up to £10,000 not unusual and you should expect to see this reflected in the selling price. There are no reported serious problems but to guard your resale value you're better off avoiding some of the flashier colour combinations.
Arguably more reasonable than your traditional supercar.
How it drives
Essentially, like a dream. At 4.5 seconds to 60mph and a high end of 187mph for the standard 4.2-litre V8 414bhp and 0-60mph in 3.6 seconds with a top of 199mph for the GT, this is certainly not a low-rent version of the Gallardo but rather a leader in its class. The Audi R8 has beaten the Gallardo as well as the Aston Martin DB9 in track tests. Handling, ride and brakes all feel effortless and more than keep up with the more expensive supercar equivalents for an exciting and rewarding driving experience. While tyre feedback is good, at a push you could ask for slightly weightier steering, but only if you really feel the need to pick fault.