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2011 Audi R8

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2011 Audi R8 Review

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By all accounts, the Audi R8 is a supercar, but that doesn't mean it's uncompromising and hard-edged. It's an incredibly capable performance machine, yet every bit as luxurious as it is sporting. The posh interior is loaded with electronics and bathed in leather and Alcantara. For 2011 the R8 is available with a new convertible body style, called the Spyder. Offered, at least for now, exclusively with a 5.2-liter Lamborghini-derived V10, the R8 Spyder 5.2 Quattro brings real exotic-car performance and style to the world of open-air motoring.

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Audi's R8 is styled unlike anything else on the road, with sweeping arcs and muscular lines that are more suited to a concept car than one from a production line. More than that, the R8 delivers an intoxicating blend of performance and comfort that is perfectly complemented by the breezy pleasures of a convertible top.

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If you opt for the R tronic transmission, know that this is not the same unit as Volkswagen/Audi's dual-clutch DSG gearbox. Shifts do take some time, and there is some computerized indecisiveness that can be annoying in traffic.

What's New for 2011

With the addition of a convertible to the lineup the Audi R8 is better able to compete head-to-head with its most direct rival, the Porsche 911.

Driving the R8
Driving Impressions

On the road the chassis responds very quickly to steering inputs and the all-wheel drive-system is almost completely imperceptible, giving the R8 the feel of a rear-drive car. Although the...

... fixed-roof R8 features a standard V8, the R8 Spyder is currently available only with the V10. That's fine by us because, despite the V8's charms, we are absolutely enamored with the prodigious power, brutal acceleration and inspired sound of the Spyder's V10 engine. In terms of transmission choices, anyone capable of actuating a clutch will find the manual transmission, with its stylish metal gate, a far more satisfying drive than the surprisingly unrefined optional R tronic sequential transmission. With either transmission the Spyder sprints from zero to 60 mph in around four seconds and has a top speed of 195 mph. As expected, the brakes are up to the task, with 14.4-inch discs with eight-piston calipers in the front and 14-inch discs with four-piston calipers in the rear.

Retractable Rear Window
Naturally, the Spyder's rear window retracts when the top is dropped but it can also be lowered with the top raised, a feature we don't recall seeing since the long-departed Honda del Sol. It's great for when you want a little fresh air along with perfect hair.

Metal-gated Six-speed Manual Transmission
The transmission itself has well-chosen ratios, but it's the metal gate surrounding the shifter that makes shifting so much fun, providing a satisfying "clink" as each shift is completed.

2011 Audi R8 Details
Interior

Despite the R8's clear performance intentions, not a stitch was spared in making its interior every bit as luxurious and accommodating as those of Audi's high-dollar sedans. Material quality is excellent, interior space is generous – even with the top raised – and the controls are exceptionally easy to reach and operate. We especially like the seats, which are comfortable, supportive and feature thermal-resistant leather that greatly reduces their temperature on hot days. The convertible design results in reduced storage space behind the seats compared to the hardtop but, overall, the R8 Spyder remains an exceptionally user-friendly exotic.

Exterior

Unquestionably sporting in intention, the Audi R8 Spyder sits wide and low, with its cabin far forward and its engine behind. From the front, LED daytime running lights add an especially sinister look and sit flush with giant air intakes below. However, viewed from the side, the R8 Spyder actually looks more subdued than the fixed-roof sibling, largely due to the omission of the hard top's iconic contrasting "sideblades." The Spyder 's light-weight soft top is triple insulated to reduce interior noise and can raise or lower in 19 seconds at speeds up to 31 miles per hour.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Like most Audi offerings, the R8 comes standard with quattro all-wheel drive (AWD) with a unique 10/90 front-to-rear torque distribution. Other standard features include heated 10-way power-adjustable seats, automatic climate control, navigation, parking sensors and a 12-speaker 465-watt Bang and Olufsen audio system. Among the standard safety features are stability and traction controls and six airbags, including driver and passenger knee airbags.

Optional Equipment

With a fairly long list of standard equipment, options for the R8 Spyder are limited mostly to aesthetic enhancements. Buyers can add carbon fiber exterior pieces, illuminated door-sill inserts, metallic and pearl paint and various wheel and tire packages to make the Spyder look even racier – not that it needs the help. Other options include a six-speed R tronic sequential transmission with Audi launch control and an enhanced leather package for the interior.

Under the Hood

Sitting behind the driver and passenger is a 5.2-liter V10 good for 525 horsepower and mated to either a traditional manual transmission or Audi's R tronic sequential-shift gearbox, which adds about $9,000 to the bill. Either way, six ratios are available and the engine's redline is a lofty 8700 rpm. Audi's quattro all-wheel drive is standard on the R8, and offers a performance-oriented torque distribution of just 10 percent to the front wheels and 90 percent to the rears, as compared to the 40/60 torque bias in most new Audi models.

5.2-liter V10
525 horsepower @ 8000 rpm
391 lb.-ft. of torque @ 6500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/19 (manual), 13/19 (automatic)

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2011 Audi R8 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.7
Out of 10

Based on 25 Ratings for the 2008 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.8/10
  • Reliability
    8.6/10
    Performance
    9.1/10
  • Comfort
    9.1/10
    Styling
    9.2/10

Great Super Car, Great Look and Design

By on Thursday, August 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,800

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "amazing performance"

Cons: "need updated Nav and A/C systems and larger trunk"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I looked for this car for three years. I wanted the V8 and I wanted the Itronic transmission. This is the last year for the V8. Its everything I wanted. If anything could be improved it would be the interior and convenience items. A/C controls, Nav System are a bit antiquated but all other aspects, especially fit and finish are superb. I have several other cars and this is the one I prefer to drive. The local dealer is very good too, an added bonus."

22 people out of 50 found this review helpful

On my bucket list for several years.

By on Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Quite the eye catcher and draws a lot of attention"

Cons: "The gated 6 speed shifter is clunky and slow."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"Overall the car has been a little bit of a disappointment. Compared to other performance cars I have owned, it lacks low end torque and quickness. Once up to speed (and high rpm) it is more fun to drive."

16 people out of 26 found this review helpful

A great car until you reach 45,000 miles

By on Thursday, July 2, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 69,846

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
2/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great driving car, extremely comfortable for tall"

Cons: "Warranty ends at 40,000 for a reason."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"This car was an ideal purchase until it reached 45,000 miles. At 45,000 I had to have the pistons cleaned for the second time for gunk build up that Audi paid for. It occurred again at 65,000 miles.Driver's seat comes apart at the seam at 42,000. I weigh 187 lbs. ($1500 to re-stitch). I had to replace the intake manifold at 65,000, seals were worn away ($1000) the plastic coolant reservoir ($800) plastic failed, the Tire Pressure Monitoring System keeps giving me System Failure Warning lights for 30 seconds or less repeatedly (dealer can't fix despite 3 visits. The Audi Concierge service for R-8's in Michigan forced the dealerships to clean the engine build up every time, however, they would do nothing for a reservoir tank rupture at the seam, nor an intake manifold failure at 65,000. Brake rotor cracked at 53,500, pads were in good condition. (Audi suggested a "stone" did it. Complete brake job with new rotor was over $8,000!Do not buy the 8 cylinder version (it's discontinued for a reason!!) A shop queen after 45,000 miles."

21 people out of 41 found this review helpful

Fantastic driving enjoyment and ownership vs. 911

By on Monday, July 7, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,900

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "The best all round super car"

Cons: "Limited ground clearance and thirsty"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

My new garage queen

"Switched to R8 V8 after 18 years with various 911's. The mid engine layout spelt fantastic handling characteristics and tactile almost "alive" dynamics. The built quality is unbelievable and made me regret not switching to R8 earlier. Took it to my favorite mountain roads and the power delivery, dynamic experience, the rumble of V8 and instantaneous throttle response were magical. I have mine in Phantom Black with black side blades and I smile every time I drive the car, thence when others are ogling it and again when I step out to admire the exquisite curvy exterior, and thought how lucky I am. The only glitch is the fuel consumption, at 20 mpg for moderate driving and around 16 mpg enthusiastic driving, take getting use to."

58 people out of 112 found this review helpful

My new garage queen

Dream car. great exotic for the money

By on Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "fun to drive, performance, styling, and comfort"

Cons: "wind buffeting with windows down, limited storage"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Italian styling with German engineering. This is an exotic car with super great performance and extremely confortable to drive. Not much lugage room and some wind buffeting with windows down. Otherwise, a great supercar that will satisfy your ever need. Dave"

26 people out of 54 found this review helpful

Customer service from Audi still lags!

By on Thursday, June 2, 2011

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great driving car. Take some driving lessons from a pro first."

Cons: "Customer service is still like a GM or Ford."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I love the driving experience and all that goes with it. I wasn't prepared for the wow factor and how it attracts people to look, watch, talk or want to challenge you on the road. Sorry to the challengers. Not even close. I have been disappointed with the customer service. Compared to Mercedes and the AMG service and experience, it makes me feel like I am driving a Toyota or Ford. If you can deal with the service issues and their short sighted view of a customer vs. A long term client you'll enjoy the car. I love it but I am selling because they pushed me to far on a service and warranty issue. Don't upgrade or modify. It invalidates your warranty. No wiggle room!"

37 people out of 54 found this review helpful

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