2020 Audi R8 V10 Performance Coupe: German Supercar Thriller

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Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

From every perspective, the 2020 Audi R8 V10 Performance is a thriller, especially when you engage the German street machine in Dynamic mode. Before an aggressive acceleration, the coupe pauses for a millisecond then blasts off like jets from runways. My passengers were squawking as if we were in the front car of Great Adventure’s Kingda Ka, the fastest roller coaster in North America and the tallest in the world.

Life is for experiencing, so when a $216,445 5.2-liter FSI dual-injection V10 supercar with 413 lb-ft of torque arrives for testing, best believe you should run all 602 horses daily as if prepping for Churchill Downs. Paired with Audi’s 7-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission and quattro all-wheel drive, the coupe crosses the 60-mph finish line in a blistering 3.2 seconds and has a top speed of 205 mph. Its immeasurable performance also comes in the form of Dynamic Steering ($1,400), Audi magnetic ride, and 20″ 5-double-spoke titanium finished Audi Sport rims wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber (305/30ZR20 rear 245/30ZR20 front). Massive carbon-ceramic brakes ($9,900) with red 6-piston front and 4-piston rear calipers ($700) define the R8 V10’s stopping performance.

The beautiful Kemora Gray Metallic paint pairs exquisitely with carbon fiber design and enhancement components such as the front spoiler and rear diffuser ($7,200). My vehicle also featured carbon fiber Sigma sideblades, mirrors, rear wing, door sills (illuminated), engine compartment trim, and interior inlays. A Titanium finish completes the R8 V10’s exterior lower trim.

Some say this particular Audi is an everyday sports car, but I look at it as your top weaponry of driving choice. Each time I piloted the R8 V10, I was vicariously transported into the mind and body of FI Champ Lewis Hamilton. The vehicle is loud from the start and rumbles, even more when you put the exhaust in Sports mode. Neighbors acknowledged that the R8 V10 could be heard a full two blocks away. Once you come to understand the Audi two-door, the most exhilarating setup is Audi Drive Select’s Dynamic mode, while manually shifting in Sport with the paddle. The R8 V10 will only upshift when you tap the flat-bottom racing steering wheel’s right shifter. However, be careful. It does not take long to eat up roads and run through the gears. Therefore your shifting needs to be as quick as a champion boxer’s jab.

The doors are standard, so the worry of squeezing through a set of scissors has been eliminated, but the cockpit is still low and narrow.  Its sport seat package with Red diamond stitching ($5,000) notifies from first sight that this is a thoroughbred. Power ignites from the red starter button on the racing wheel, which is like a remote control featuring all operational functions. Audi virtual cockpit and MMI Navigation plus with voice control system are viewed through the 12.3″ LCD fully digital instrument cluster behind the wheel. When you are not tuned into the soundtrack of the V10, the bass from the Bang and Olufsen sound system ($1,900) will pulse via the chest as if you are at a reggae dancehall concert. Besides the tight cabin, I am not a fan of the awkward dead pedal, which is shifted more towards the brake pedal because of the front wheel well intrusion.

The R8 V10 competes with the Acura NSX, Porsche 911 Turbo, and the McLaren 570S, all of which have either six or 8-cylinder engines. Some say bigger is bolder, but it truly depends on the eye of the beholder. Until then, let the V10 powerplant be your escape to freedom.

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