Supercar showing no sign of running out of puff

AUDI’S ambition would appear to know no bounds. The manufacturer is seeing just how far its brand can stretch with the R8 V10 supercar and this 518bhp monster shows no sign of running out of slack.

The 0-60mph sprint takes less than four seconds but with quattro all-wheel drive and a luxurious cabin, the R8’s everyday usability remains intact.

The Audi R8’s V10 engine is a 5,204cc unit with 518bhp at 8,000rpm and 530Nm or torque at 6,500rpm.

In the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4, the engine produces 552bhp and 540Nm but R8 V10 buyers are unlikely to feel short changed. The 0-62mph sprint takes just 3.9s, confirming the model’s status as a genuine supercar and the top speed, where conditions and the driver’s sense of self preservation allow, is 196mph.

Audi offers a choice of gearboxes, a six-speed manual or the R tronic twin clutch system with its steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The R8 V10 is actually faster with the R tronic’s advanced software swapping its cogs and in that form, will barrel through 124mph in 12 seconds flat.

Audi has mounted the V10 engine slap bang in the middle of the R8, or as close to dead centre as its engineering boffins could manage.

This has allowed them to achieve a nigh on perfect 44/56 front/rear weight distribution.

The engine itself uses dry sump lubrication as seen on many racing cars which allows the engine to be mounted closer to the road for a lower centre of gravity.

The engine’s formidable output is channelled to the tarmac by the ubiquitous Audi quattro all-wheel-drive system which continuously varies the amount of power it supplies to the front and rear axles to maximise traction.

Stand on the brakes even at the more ludicrous velocities of which the R8 V10 is capable and you’ll barely have time to say crikey before the huge ventilated, perforated discs anchor on and bring you to a standstill.

Upgrade to the optional ceramic brake discs and the V10’s stopping will get more dramatic still.

The R8 uses advanced aluminium construction to minimise weight and even with the addition of the V10 engine, the car tips the scales at a modest 1,620kg - 31kg more than the V8-engined car.

The double wishbone suspension is combined with Audi’s magnetic ride technology which stiffens or softens the dampers to optimise the ride according to road conditions and the driver’s style.

There are no trim levels with the R8 - just V8 or V10 power and a collection of highly desirable but somewhat pricey options.

Standard kit includes a DVD satellite navigation system, electric seating adjustment and an excellent Bang & Olufsen stereo packing 465 watts of music power.

The R8 V10 certainly isn’t cheap but in the context of the supercar elite which it can live with in terms of performance, it could be construed as a bit of a bargain. You certainly don’t get much Ferrari or Lamborghini for £100,000 and the R8 V10’s closest direct rivals will be models from the top end of the Porsche 911 range.

It’s priced at similar levels to the 911 Turbo which achieves similar performance with its turbocharged 3.6-litre unit.

Standard safety features: ESP, twin front and side airbags, anti lock brakes, traction control, ISOFIX child seat fixing