Audi R8 V10 (2009)

Published: 27 April 2007

Audi R8 V10: the lowdown

Audi’s R8 mid-engined supercar caused a stir when it was first driven back in January. The 414bhp 911 rival was warmly received by CAR’s testers – and it even trumped its Porsche and Lambo rivals on our first test in the US. However, lurking in the back of everyone’s mind was the thought of the potent V10 version in the pipeline. After all, the R8 shares many components with its Gallardo brethren, so it was only a matter of time before the V10 would be dropped in. And now our spies have caught a V10 test car being put through its paces at the Nurburgring in Germany.

What’s new on the latest R8 then?

An extra couple of cylinders and a whole lot more grunt, that’s what. It’s believed that the V10 will kick out around 80bhp over than the current V8, plus a wedge more torque. This should bring it up to somewhere near the magic 500bhp mark, giving the R8 a healthy dollop of mid-range punch over the current V8. There was initially rumour that Audi would reign in the V10 to avoid luring punters away from Lamborghini, but since the Gallardo Superleggera arrived on the scene with its thrilling 530bhp, there’s less need to worry about internal squabbles.

But this car looks just like an ordinary R8. How do you know it’s the V10?

It’s true the visual differences between the standard R8 and V10 won’t be huge, but you can easily see that the side sills of this prototype are more heavily sculpted, and the side scoops are reprofiled – all the better to feed the more powerful engine with extra cool air. The scoops, skirts and sills are the only tweaks we can spot, although our photographer also reported a more menacing V10 timbre.

What about performance figures?

Official data on the R8 V10 is sketchy at the moment, but we can safely expect this range-topper to out-run its smaller-engined sibling. It doesn’t take a scientist to work out that this car will beat the existing V8’s 4.6sec run to 62mph and head even closer to 200mph. The standard R8 arrives in the UK this summer, so it seems likely that the V10 will arrive in the next 18 months. It will at a stroke become the fastest roadgoing Audi in history.