I have had the opportunity to spend some time behind the wheel of the more powerful version with 610PS resting in the rear in a car which is noticeably wider and lower than the first generation model. Both versions rely on the same power unit and standard output is 540PS while in the plus version there is another 70PS on hand to play with.
There is no manual transmission, instead a seven speed automatic which is perfect and of course in the best traditions of a car of this type works extremely well. Adding to the race nature of the new R8 you can change gear via paddles positioned on the steering wheel which features a number of control buttons including one which delivers not only a sporting mode but also a glorious sound more akin to the race track.
Audi has placed even more focus on the driver with their latest R8 offering, the minute you sink into the sports seats all of the controls and instrumentation demand to be driven.
A fantastic virtual cockpit first seen in the 3rd generation TT, Audi drive select, Audi Connect and front/rear park assist are some the many goodies to further enhance the driving enjoyment of this car.
The new car is lighter by some 50kgs and body rigidity is increased by 40% and as a result road holding is superb, in fact the faster you drive, the car hugs the road even more building confidence as the miles flash past. Famed for their Quattro all wheel drive system, this is a key element of the new R8, a system which over the years has been fine tuned through competition in Motorsport.
On the subject of performance, with the plus version rest to 62mph comes up in a mere 3.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 205mph, a figure you will never legally reach on our roads in Northern Ireland. If you have an itch to scratch we suggest a Track Day at Kirkistown if you want to keep your points tally in single digits.
Driving at night gave me an opportunity to test the new laser headlights which are available to supplement the standard LED headlights. The result is a long narrow beam which is useful considering the performance at your fingertips. The laser headlights come into operation when the R8 crosses the 37mph barrier. The car may be in the super car category but it’s also incredibly safe to dive. Ceramic brakes are standard on the plus version with 19 inch ally wheels standard fit; you can have the option of 20 inch wheels but expect a more taught drive on our network of roads in NI.
There is a palette of options including, sports exhaust, magnetic ride adaptive damping system, a 500 watt B&O audio system and numerous interior decor upgrades.
What price for such performance and road presence, the R8 V10 is priced from £119,500 while the plus starts at £132,715. Is it value for money? Yes just look at the cost of its competitors.
I must add the R8 I tested came with an array of extras and the final tally £154,720.
Summing up this is a car that delivers in all of the key areas and represents the quality and technology Audi brings to the world of motoring.