In a world of electrification, the Audi R8 V10 Coupe could mark the end of and era
by Dan Woods
Considering so many people love cars, it amazes me how they all have their own distinct reason why. It could be a childhood memory; seeing or sitting in a certain car. Or it could have been a car they owned at one point in time.
For me, it was a NEED FOR SPEED. I capitalise those words because they were a series of racing games from my childhood. Shocking as the graphics are now, looking back, they planted a seed of fascination with supercars within me.
So you can imagine my excitement when I saw a supercar for real, outside of 1990s graphics. More specifically, when I heard one outside of computer speakers. And the noise a car makes remains, to this day, my deepest love for them. Because the right noise tingles your senses and makes you feel alive.
Which brings me nicely on to the Audi R8. Its beating heart is a 5.2-litre V10 with 570PS and 560Nm of torque. It is naturally-aspirated, capable of revving to 8,500rpm. And with no turbochargers feeding from the exhausts, the two dustbin-sized tail pipes emit a thunderous sound.
The R8 plays on this. It eggs you on, daring you to explore the highest heights of its rev range. Do so, and you are rewarded with blistering acceleration – 0-62mph in 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 201mph – and a soundtrack akin to a racing car. It’s pure, unadulterated euphoria. And yet there is a cloud of sadness looming over the R8. We are moving to a world of electrification; small engine hybrid setups and zeroemission pure electric vehicles. And, regrettably, there is no place in that world for a naturally-aspirated, 5.2-litre V10.
When the current R8 reaches the end of its life, it may well be retired altogether. Or its replacement will have such a different drivetrain that it will be unrecognisable.
There is, of course, more to the Audi R8 than just its engine. Quattro all-wheel drive provides plenty of grip, and despite having two seats and no room for luggage it manages to feel like a usable, everyday car. In other words, it feels like an Audi.
If I was fortunate enough to have a car collection, I’d be adding an R8 to it without hesitation. It is the perfect swan song to the era of internal combustion supercars. But the R8’s greatness also hits home what we’re set to lose. The roads will be a less joyful place without it.