2009 Audi R8

Like the Ferrari F430 and Lamborghini Gallardo with which it competes, the R8 has a mid-mounted engine. Featuring a weight-saving aluminum body and Quattro all-wheel drive, Audi says the R8 can accelerate from zero to 62 mph in just 4.6 seconds and has a maximum speed of 185 mph.

The R8 has spectacular styling. The nose is low and wide. The body is stretched tightly over the chassis and the 19-inch wheels. The side blade behind the doors punctuates the R8’s design and is intended to be a visual break that makes the car look smaller. The blade on some R8s is a brightly contrasting color, but the black test car’s dark-gray blade was subtle.

In spite of its low wedge shape, the R8 has a unexpectedly roomy cabin. It is 75 inches wide, 49.3 inches tall and 174.5 inches long. The wheelbase is 104.3 inches.

The R8’s cabin is not only spacious but also marvelously designed. The gauges sit in individual pods, bordered by a single arch that is intended to imitate a single-seat racer. The seats offer excellent support.

Luggage space under the front hood is small, but it will hold a couple of duffel bags. There is also room behind the front seats for a briefcase or backpack.

The R8 feels comfortable and at home in city traffic. The suspension is firm, yet it is compliant enough to be comfortable on everyday roads. Audi uses adaptive shock absorbers with magnetic fluid, and they can change ride characteristics in milliseconds. The driver can choose standard or sport mode.

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