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Audi R8: The beautiful beast

By Roger St. Pierre with Hazel Kempster

Wow! What a beauty… now, while quite a few of you might not like the wide, vertical matt black stripes – one a side – that adorn the curvaceous flanks of Audi’s stunningly styled R8 supercar, there can be very few indeed who fail to recognise the overall beauty in this beast.

Yet, exotic as it might look, this is a surprisingly practical car. For starters, getting in and out of it proves to be easier than it is to scramble into some current saloon cars, with their roof lines lowered to provide sleeker looks and better aerodynamics and, as a result, better fuel consumption but concomitant ingress and exit problems..

And once inside the Audi’s plushly outfitted cockpit there are generously wide while still hip-hugging seats and reasonable headroom too, as well as neatly sited switchgear and instrumentation.

Given the top end car’s 610 bhp 5.2-litre V10 mid-engine layout, there’s no room for backseats but the luggage bin in the nose will accommodate fairly large his and her weekend bags.

Now in its second generation, the R8 affords staggering performance, flexing its muscles with a blistering 0-62-mph time of just 3.2 seconds and a top speed potential of 205.1-mph. As one reviewer put it: “If you need more, it’s time to see a counsellor.”

Quattro four-wheel drive provides the car with amazing stability, even on the most winding of roads in the wet and even the worse of adverse cambers does not upset its poise.

A new multi-material Audi space frame, with high proportions of aluminium and CFRP, has helped to minimise weight while immensely powerful but light to the feet ceramic brakes provide assurance.

But while it’s tempting to press the metal ever closer to the floor, the car is just as happy tootling along with the rest of the traffic. It may be race-proven but the R8 is street-wise too.

Heavy clutches are the bane of high performance sports cars but our test vehicle came with an S-tronic automatic gearbox with paddle over-ride.

There is also a 4.2-litre V8 engined version available, as well as a Spyder convertible – with prices running from £93,785 to £126,885.

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From Belfast Telegraph