Possibly the only drawback of the previous generation R8’s would have to be its R-tronic 6-speed single clutch automated gearbox. The ferocity in which it shifted gears could be felt like a sharp whack hitting ones back each time the shifter was engaged. But now since Iron Man has gotten his hands on it we are sure that the rough edges would be smoothened out. And for 2014, the Audi R8’s comes with a new gem in the form of a dual clutch 7-speed S-tronic gearbox. Smooth, fast and compact, this change alone has single handedly transformed the car to supercar status, which Audi has always envisioned it to be.
2014 Audi R8 V8 Coupe Review
The new S-tronic 7-speed gearbox is a modified version of the dual-clutch unit found in the Audi RS4 model which we tested a couple of months back. And according to Audi, the shift times happens in 0.125 seconds; which is about the same time it takes for us to blink. Power is transferred to the ground via the immensely capable Quattro system, but in keeping with sports car tradition, Audi diverts just 15% of torque to the front wheels and no more than 30% up front when it detects extreme slippery conditions.
Though the ‘Pièce de résistance’ is it’s new dual clutch setup, the 2014 R8 also benefits from a few new trickeries. The R8 now comes with wave rotors that reduce its unsprung mass while increasing heat dissipation, reminiscent with super bikes these days. A restyled front LED design and rear tail lamps that includes a rather stylized animated swipe of its turn signals ups the ante in the design department.
Power is down by 20hp from the RS4/RS5, but its lower weight and stiffer chassis offsets this handicap. 0-100kmph sprint is achieved faster by 0.4 seconds on the 2014 R8 V8.
The R8 is a precise tool. It’s precision lies in everything it does. From an everyday cruiser to a weekend warrior, the 2014 Audi R8 V8 mixes a perfect blend of comfort and handling for its proud owners. With Audi recently bagging its 12th Le Mans wins in 13 years, one can imagine that some of the DNA of the racecars has been passed on to the R8’s.
Taking the R8 tester on my favorite bit of twisties, I could almost swear on the fact that the capable hands of Tom Kristensen were guiding me. The tight chicanes mixed with decreasing radius turns and those odd negative camber turns were handled by the R8 without breaking a sweat. I was faster and most importantly composed as I wound my way repeatedly around the rare and unused part of Dubai’s infrastructure. On each pass I tried go faster to the point my front wheels were no longer pointing towards the apex. The rear wheel torque biased Quattro showed its true colors, and boy oh boy, was I loving every moment of it!!!
Our tester came in a rather rare, for this part of the world, Samoa Orange metallic color. It stood out in the crowd and offered my photographers a different color palette to work with. This particular R8 lacked the carbon fiber and leather trim on the dashboard, which comes in as an option, and with a starting price of AED 430,000 this was a bargain. The visual options really help in customization, but the character of the R8 remains the same with or without the leather-trimmed headliners and carbon fiber inserts in the interior and exterior.
The customization is better left to the individual in us. The 2014 Audi R8 is a mature and sorted out sports car. It does not offer much into carrying your everyday groceries, but it is guaranteed to bring a smile each time you drive it. The R8 flatters our ego and nudges us to go faster while resting its assuring hands in calming down the odd lunacy in all of us. It is true then, we can all feel like Tom Kristensen while driving one.
|2014 Audi R8 V8 Coupe Quattro S-tronic|
|Rated Output||430hp @ 7900 rpm|
|Rated Torque||430 Nm between 4500-6000 rpm|
|Transmission||7 speed dual clutch S-tronic automatic|
|Top speed||300 kmph|
|Acceleration 0-100 km/h||4.3 s|
|Fuel Consumption combined (l/100lm) as tested||12.4|
|Price (AED)||430,000 as tested|
Images by Brian Donegan :