The updated 2014 Audi R8, which incorporated revised exterior lighting, new interior touches, and the implementation of a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, made its debut in early 2013. No further updates have been announced for the 2014 calendar year, and we doubt that any will be, since a second-generation R8 is expected to launch within two years...
After years of teasing us with exotic concept cars, Audi finally entered the supercar market with the 2008 R8, which promptly earned both our Automobile of the Year and Design of the Year awards. Although its screaming V-8, all-wheel-drive traction, and astonishing looks won it praise, Audi still found room for improvement. A 5.2-liter V-10 was added to the range for 2010, followed by a droptop cabriolet. Although the R8 is now close to seven years old, the 2014 Audi R8 -- which, confusingly, went on sale earlier in 2013 -- was updated with a refined automatic transmission option, slick new headlamps, and some rather upscale interior appointments.
Few seven-year-old cars still look as fresh as the 2014 Audi R8. Yes, the sports car was face-lifted in early 2013 for the '14 model year, but the new headlamps, taillamps, and minor cosmetic details don't drastically change the R8's shape. That's a good thing, considering that the R8's slender curves and wide stance are a hallmark, if not a primary selling point.
The standard 430-hp, 4.2-liter V-8 is more than enough to blast the R8 coupe from 0 to 60 mph in a scant 4.2 seconds. If that's not quick enough, adding two cylinders, a liter of displacement, and $37,000 to the mix results in the R8 V10, which can make that same pass in 3.4 seconds before hitting a top speed of 196 mph. If that somehow still isn't quite quick enough, the new R8 V10 Plus, which replaces the defunct R8 GT, shaves a tenth of a second off of that time and can reach a top speed of 198 mph.
No matter the engine, transmission, or body style selected, the 2014 R8 is as usable and civilized in everyday use as it quick. The new S-tronic seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is a far cry from the old herky-jerky semi-automated R-tronic transmission, especially in bumper-to-bumper traffic. The standard six-speed manual features fetching metal shift gates. The cabin is roomy enough for even tall adults, but cargo space -- both behind the seats and in the small trunk located in the nose -- is limited. The R8 is even happy enough to slum it in the Snow Belt, so long as you cap Quattro driveline with proper winter tires during the cold months.
It's easy to say that the 2014 Audi R8 offers exotic-car performance at half the price, but it also has to contend with the likes of the Porsche 911 GT3 and Turbo. Those cars might be just as quick and perhaps somewhat more engaging to drive, but rest assured: they don't turn heads and grab attention quite like the R8.
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