The First-Gen Audi R8 in Review

Table of Contents

Overview of Audi R8

Audi never fails to impress us with its handling technology, as we have seen earlier with the Audi TT, but when compared to the first generation of Audi R8, even the previous ones seem to have failed. It is an all-wheel drive sports car, giving a genuinely comfortable riding experience. Most of the mechanical components of this car are of the Lamborghini Gallardo’s standards, which is done to meet the German brand’s standards.

This vehicle gives a sense of modernism both from the exterior and the interior. This car is comfortable, fast, and friendly all at once. Thereby making the driving experience quiet, comfortable, and super smooth. Three generations of Audi R8 have been produced up till now, but our focus in this article will be the first generation of the Audi R8. So, let’s get into it.

Origin and Evolution

The Audi R8 is based on the Audi Le Mans Quattro concept car that was designed by Julian Hoenig and Frank Lamberty. This vehicle made its very first appearance at the 2003 Frankfurt International Motor Show and the 2002 International Geneva Motor Show.

However, the official launch of this vehicle took place on 30th September 2006 at the Paris Auto Show. Initially, there was a lot of confusion in naming the car, whether it should be the R8 Le Mans Prototype or the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The former was considered final and came along with some of its initial models, including the R8 5.2 FSI coupe and the R8 4.2 FSI coupe.

The Audi R8 came over with convertible models as well that were produced in the year 2008, and they were called the Spyder. Later, some GT models were also produced that made their way to the market in 2011.

R8, in general, is considered the best-handling road car.

The first generation of Audi R8 received a facelift and was given the name V10 Plus in 2012. This generation came to an end in 2015, and hence, the production of Type 42 also ceased.


Power, Performance, and Efficiency

The 2008 Audi R8 is equipped with a 4.2-liter V8 engine, which can easily make 420 horsepower and delivers 317 lb-ft of torque. There can be one of these two transmissions: Audi’s six-speed R tronic or a traditional six-speed manual, which delivers power to all the wheels. This car can also easily go from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds, possessing a top speed of 187 mph.

Moreover, the Audi R8 is called a mid-engine sports car due to its engine placement, which is present between the rear wheels and the front wheels. It can also be considered as the position right behind the driver and front passenger seat. There is a firewall that separates the engine from the passenger area.

Exploring the Interior Features

Inside the cabin, you will find front sports heated seats and leather door trim. The seats are quite basic, having nothing fancy.

However, the seats are super comfortable and power-adjustable. Leather/Alcantara seats are available, and carbon Sigma or Piano finish interior trim for the dashboard.

It also has a long wheelbase and somewhat roomy cabin that can easily accommodate long adults.

In essence, the Audi R8’s interior is minimalist in the true sense. It is strictly a two-seater vehicle, having little space to carry luggage or golf clubs at the back of the seats, as stated by Audi.

Color Options

When it comes to exterior color options, there are plenty. The Audi R8 comes in some very cool colors that look appealing to the eyes. Whether you pick grey, blue, or red, every color makes the Audi R8 stand out. You have the following choices for exterior colors:

  • Mugello Blue Pearl
  • Brilliant Red
  • Jet Blue Metallic
  • Daytona Grey Pearl
  • Ibis White
  • Phantom Black Pearl
  • Ice Silver Metallic

While you will typically see black inside the cabin, there are a couple of options for the interior colors as well. Here’s what you got:

  • Luxor Beige
  • Black
  • Tuscan Brown
  • Limestone Grey

Exploring the Infotainment Technology

The initial model of the Audi R8 is not equipped with any touchscreen; instead, its MMI infotainment system functions are displayed on the gauge cluster. Other than that, there’s a GPS navigation system, a premium sound system including a CD player, Bluetooth connectivity, and a small digital display on the instrument cluster. 

Space and Storage in Audi R8

The storage space in the first generation of Audi R8 is very limited, particularly in the initial 2008 model. There is only a small 3.5-cubic-foot front trunk that wouldn’t carry anything more than a small hand carry. Other than that, when looking inside, there is plenty of space and storage compartments. You will also find cup holders and storage areas to keep small items. All this is quite unusual for a high-end sports car like the Audi R8.

Safety Features

This Audi R8 has a lot of amazing safety, and driver assistance features that keep the car protected when on the road. You will find a lot of standard safety features; you will find a few advanced features, too. Here’s what it includes:

  • Passenger-side front airbag
  • Anti-lock brakes
  • Front and rear park distance sensor
  • Rearview camera
  • Anti-Theft Alarm
  • Driver-side front airbag
  • Seat-mounted side airbags
  • Hill hold assist

Audi R8’s Stand Among Competitors

Porsche 911 is one of the biggest rivals of the Audi R8. Both the vehicles have some amazing features that make them stand out. However, they both are known for high-end performance and amazing strengths. While the Porsche 911 has a top-class rear-engine layout, iconic design, and strong performance, the Audi R8 is known for all-wheel drive stability and unique design. Not to forget, the Porsche 911 has a long history of driving excellence.


✓         Truly a well-balanced vehicle

✓         Contains a powerful engine

✓         Equipped with a top-notch base audio system

✓         Gives a well-controlled ride


✘         A lot of bearing problems

✘         Difficult to drive at low speeds

✘         Limited cargo space

Decoding Fuel Economy of Audi R8

The 2008 Audi R8, having a 4.2-litre V8 engine, has quite a good fuel economy. It is rated at 12-14 mpg in the city and 20-23 mpg on the highway. It is relatively decent for a sports car of this caliber, considering the powerful V8 engine and the performance-oriented design of the Audi R8. The vehicle also offers a good balance of performance and fuel efficiency than most other cars.


Audi R8 Model Years (First Generation)Pricing
2008 Audi D8 4.2$109,000
2009 Audi D8 4.2$114,200
2010 Audi D8 4.2$114,200
2011 Audi D8 4.2$114,200 – $127,700
2012 Audi D8 4.2$114,200 – $127,700
2014 Audi D8 4.2$114,900 – $128,400
2015 Audi D8 4.2$115,900 – $129,400
Drive Abilities

The Audi R8 is a practical car that is super comfortable for everyday driving. It is that quiet and easygoing car, which has all been possible due to the shock absorbers and the electromechanical steering. Since it possesses an all-wheel-drive system and contains beasts in the form of tires, the car feels super lively on the road. Also, to get the best experience, it is recommended to go for the traditional manual transmission, with which you will never miss a shot. However, the R tronic has delayed shifting reactions that don’t keep the ride as smooth as it should be.


The Audi R8 makes its debut as the first mid-engine exotic sports car, featuring all the comfort that one would desire. Overall, this car has aggressive styling, comes in some pretty colors, features an aluminum body structure, and an all-wheel drive system. This configuration prevents understeer to a good extent, which has been observed in pretty much all similar cars.

This car has a good practical value, attaining the perfect performance score, and certainly earns the best score for its design. The only limitations you will observe are in its R tronic transmission, which shows poor mileage and low-speed behavior. Other than that, the price tag and everything else it offers is just perfect for the car of its kind; that too is the first-generation model of the Audi R8.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How fast is the first generation of Audi R8?

The early Audi R8 vehicles, like 4.2s, can be easily topped at 188 mph. However, the later generations give much better performance.

Is the 2008 Audi R8 a supercar?

Of course. The Audi R8 is truly a supercar that is also super quick and fast to drive. It is a “mid-engine” sports car, having a weight distribution advantage.

What drive system does the 2008 model of Audi R8 equipped with?

The 2008 Audi R8 is equipped with an all-wheel drive system, which ensures safe and balanced handling.

Does the Audi R8 come with any warranty?

You will find the typical powertrain warranty covered for 80,000 km or 48 months, and the roadside assistance warranty is provided with unlimited kilometers and also covers 48 months.

Written by: Motorcardata

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