By Sala Masindane
Just as there’s an influx of SUV’s the latest trend has seen an uptake of super and hypercars. The biggest problem with the latter is the accessibility or the fact it’s uncomfortable to drive on a daily amongst many other reasons. However, the former seems to be a trend that is becoming a phenomenon across the country. One of those cars that mastered this is the Audi R8, not all does it look the part but has the soundtrack to match the likes of its peers. We spent time with the R8 as it’s in its last hurrah as the German manufacturer is moving into electric powertrains.
The second-generation facelifted R8 sports a wider and flatter singleframe radiator grille, and “dimmed” headlights. There are flat slits above the grille (reminiscent of the Audi Sport Quattro) whilst winglets at the side divide the large air inlets. The new front splitter is now wider, and an air inlet grille spans the entire width of the rear end. It also now features a wider trapezoidal grille and a prominent rear diffuser. In terms of optional extras ticked on the exterior, our test unit featured Audi laser light, dark-tinted glass with dynamic turn signal, high beam control (R64,500) and the 20-inch 5-double spoke dynamic style alloy wheels in anthracite black (R34,000).
It’s commendable how the R8 manages to have a minimalistic cabin but still offers all the necessities that are required. The R8 takes on the “less is more” phrase literally with the driver -focused 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster that doubles up as an infotainment system that is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible. The cabin is sporty and elegant. Storage is inherently limited, but its door pockets will fit small bottles and space behind the seats, as well as the 112-litre front boot avails storage for a few more stuff.
Underneath the hood or should we say boot, is a 5.2 litre naturally aspirated V10 engine with power outputs of 449kW/560Nm. Audi claims it will do the 0-100km/h sprint in 3.2 seconds and top speed sits at 310km/h. The engine is paired with a 7-speed S tronic gearbox which sends power to all four wheels via Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system. Since it is naturally aspirated the response is immediate as opposed to the lag of most turbocharged cars. This means it’s quick of the mark and thanks to the low centre of gravity it is agile and nimble around bends. The ride quality is impressive across most of the provincial terrains and that equates to a joyful daily drive.
Speaking of daily, that’s the most pleasurable thing about the R8. Once you are done with the spirited jaunts it can be calm. However, the elephant in the room is the R3,520,000 price tag that lends itself to the likes of the 911 and the 570s. This might not end well for the R8 but overall, it’s a great offering with a V10 thunder sound that will make you the envy of your neighbours. Pricing includes a five-year or 100 000 km Audi Freeway Plan.
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