2020 Audi R8 Spyder first drive review: A familiar thrill

    The Audi R8 is as thrilling because it’s ever been. And although there are a number of updates that set this 2020 mannequin other than its forebear, the very best factor in regards to the R8 is not what’s modified, it is what hasn’t.In truth, I’m not so positive most of the modifications — particularly, the visible ones — really enhance issues. Up entrance, the reworked fascia has a number of extra angles and air intakes than earlier than, although the little fangs that flank the edges are nonfunctional, in order that they’re actually simply styling for styling’s sake. Around again, large exhaust suggestions exchange the extra discreet design of final yr’s automobile, whereas the honeycomb air retailers now span the complete width of the rump.
    I like the best way the LED mild housings have been darkened for a barely extra sinister look, and it is cool which you can get the automobile’s badges in black, too. But taken as a complete, the 2020 styling tweaks really make the automobile look worse than earlier than, although make no mistake, it is nonetheless an R8, and due to this fact a complete knockout looker.Some new colours can be found in and out, and there is a wi-fi cellphone charger simply forward of the gear selector on the middle console. Audi’s Virtual Cockpit tech nonetheless manages the infotainment system, and superbly at that. Plus, with no central multimedia display screen, the dashboard is blissfully uncluttered. Three small knobs home the local weather management capabilities, however the princess in me thinks it is a bit ridiculous the R8 would not include dual-zone performance. Performance updates are equally sparse. All R8s use Audi’s completely implausible, naturally aspirated, 5.2-liter V10 engine, mounted amidships and linked to a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission and Quattro all-wheel drive. The base automobile now produces 562 horsepower as a substitute of 532, whereas torque stays the identical at 406 pound-feet. In the warmer V10 Performance mannequin — previously known as V10 Plus — that engine produces the identical 602 hp and 413 lb-ft as earlier than. Not that I’m complaining.Every model of the 2020 R8 can attain speeds above 200 mph, and in its quickest V10 Performance Coupe spec, Audi’s supercar accelerates to 60 mph in simply 3.2 seconds, with the Spyder falling in solely a 10th of a second behind that. For what it is price, Audi reps admit the corporate’s acceleration information is definitely considerably conservative; use launch management in a V10 Performance Coupe and you possibly can attain 60 mph in as little as 2.9 seconds.

    No engine sounds as candy as a naturally aspirated V10 at full wail, and I can not applaud Audi sufficient for conserving this drama alive within the R8.

    Numbers apart, launching the R8 is a severe thrill — and one greatest skilled within the Spyder. That massive V10 is nestled proper behind your ears, and the louder it will get, the tougher you will push the throttle. No different engine sounds as candy as a naturally aspirated V10 at full wail, and I can not applaud Audi sufficient for conserving this drama alive within the R8 — particularly since I discover a few of the firm’s different sporty engines a bit too buttoned-up for their very own good ( you, RS5).The S-Tronic computerized transmission properly manages the engine’s energy, however typically tends to leap round when left to its personal units. Thankfully, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters let you select your personal journey, with a few of the quickest upshifts accessible in any automobile anyplace. But I’ll say, Audi might significantly stand to suit the R8 with some bigger, meatier, this-is-a-freaking-supercar paddles, reasonably than the identical tiny, plastic flappers that you’re going to discover in an A3 sedan. (I’ll additionally by no means forgive Audi for discontinuing the handbook transmission with the gated shifter, even when the S-Tronic is a faster cog-swapper than I’ll ever be.)The V10 Performance fashions may be optioned with a carbon-fiber sway bar that saves 4.4 kilos of weight, which I am unable to think about you will really discover. A extra significant improve is the retuned variable-ratio steering system, which is claimed to have a extra progressive really feel not in contrast to that of the rear-wheel drive R8 RWS. Without driving the 2019 and 2020 fashions back-to-back, I’m exhausting pressed to note a tangible distinction in the best way the R8 steers. The automobile is fast to show in and provides acceptable suggestions of what is taking place at street degree. Maybe the steering is a bit too mild within the automobile’s default Comfort mode. Or possibly I’m simply splitting hairs.
    Curiously, whereas the bottom R8 fashions use an adaptive, magnetic-ride suspension, the V10 Performance comes with a hard and fast setup. On the one hand, the metal springs are mushy sufficient to ship a compliant trip over damaged metropolis streets and throughout lengthy stretches of freeway. Yet they’re additionally agency sufficient to supply glorious composure while you’re actually wailing on the R8 on an amazing canyon street. I am unable to converse to the mounted suspension’s manners when pushed to the intense, however the R8 is such an extremely succesful automobile that you’re going to by no means, ever come near discovering its limits on public roads — until you are driving like an fool, I suppose. Some people would possibly miss the adjustability of adaptive suspension geometry, but when the automobile is ready up properly from the get-go, why complicate issues?All of this brings me to what I really like most in regards to the R8: It really appears like the very best definition of the “everyday supercar,” as esoteric a phase as that could be. More than an Acura NSX, Ferrari 488, Lamborghini Huracan, McLaren 570S or perhaps a Porsche 911 GT3, the R8 actually feels just like the type of automobile you possibly can run errands in on a Monday after driving the doorways off it on a Sunday. It’s as comfy and techy as every other trendy Audi, however has no hassle maintaining with the world’s most interesting supercars — a few of which, remember, carry considerably larger worth tags than the 2020 R8’s $169,900 MSRP.Is the 2020 Audi R8 any completely different than its predecessor? Not actually. And that is completely superb with me.
    Editors’ notice: Travel prices associated to this story have been lined by the producer, which is frequent within the auto business. The judgments and opinions of Roadshow’s workers are our personal and we don’t settle for paid editorial content material.

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