2014 Audi R8, the everyday supercar: Motoramic Drives
You might think that when the snow begins to fall, the roads ice over and German rural volk dust off their bobble hats, that an Audi R8 supercar might not be the preferred choice of winter driving. Audi would disagree. With nothing more than all-weather tires, we embarked on a 620-mile voyage deep into the Alps, in an attempt to discover whether the 2014 Audi R8 is as ambidextrous as Audi claimsit to be.
The 2014 Audi R8 is a subtle evolution from the previous model. Aesthetically, you are challenged to notice any significant differences. And that's OK, because change can be overrated. Take the Porsche 911, or Jocelyn Wildenstein. The most noticeable difference comes in the form of the new LED headlights and rear turn signal - containing 30 LEDs that swipe from one side to another with a Mustang-esque resemblance.
Under the hood, the traditional V-8 and V-10 engines remain, with the 4.2-liter V-8 producing 430 hp and the 5.2-liter V-10 amassing 525 hp. But if all that power isn't enough, fear not, because a new kid is in town — the V-10 Plus. The same 5.2-liter engine is utilized, only massaged to produce 550 hp and 398 lb.-ft. of torque. Additionally, the Plus model weighs 110 lbs. less due to an abundance of carbon-fiber gidgets and gadgets. The Plus launches to 60 mph from a standstill in 3.5 seconds — 0.3 seconds faster than the 2012 V-10.
Perhaps the most prolific update for 2014 is the new 7-speed S-Tronic dual-clutch transmission. The outgoing R-Tronic transmission was a little rough around the edges, providing neck-snapping and violent shifts. The new gearbox is silky smooth and shifting --thanks to the dual clutch -- is blazingly fast. The 6-speed manual is still available, and despite my love for creating the perfect manual shift, the S-Tronic is so transcendent that picking between the two could end up becoming a real head scratcher.
Sliding behind the wheel, the R8 is chocker-block with luxurious leather, embedded with diamond cut stitching. The V10 Plus boasts additional carbon fiber trimming and Alcantara lining. All models feel modern and classy, yet pleasingly unpretentious. Cabin space is ample and seats boast a surprising amount of comfort, although it took some time to develop the optimal driving position.