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2012 Audi R8

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2012 Audi R8 Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 9.1

The 2012 Audi R8 is indeed a supercar fit for a super hero but, unlike some others in this group of elite vehicles, it's not a compromise to drive. Yes, the R8 has incredible performance, but it also ladles on the luxury. The 2-seat coupe or convertible from the German automaker has a posh interior that is loaded with technology and fitted with leather and Alcantara surfaces. Two engines choices are available in the R8 coupe and R8 Spyder: A stout 4.2-liter V8 or a an even more potent, Lamborghini-sourced V10 that lets the Audi better compete with the likes of the Porsche 911 Turbo and exotics from Italy. The engine location is in the middle of the car and all R8s feature Audi's quattro all-wheel drive for better handling and traction.

You'll Like This Car If...

If your idea of a supercar is one with concept-car styling, aggressive performance and an interior filled with creature comforts, the Audi R8 is an appealing choice. Perhaps more significantly, it's an exotic that's easy to live with on a daily basis, a car that is at home on both road and track.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you choose the R tronic automatic transmission, know that shifts take some time and its indecisiveness can be annoying in rush-hour traffic. Purists who must have rear-wheel drive will need to look elsewhere, though Audi's all-wheel-drive system in the R8 is highly rear-biased.

What's New for 2012

R8 models with the 4.2-liter V8 get a 10-horsepower increase to 430. Audi R8 GT versions of the coupe and convertible arrive in limited editions with less weight, more power and bigger price tags.

Driving the R8

Driving Impressions Even with the "least" powerful engine – a 430-horsepower V8 – the 2012 R8 feels responsive and powerful. Downshifting is rarely necessary, as torque is plentiful and spread throughout the...

rev range. As good as the V8 is, we are enamored with the prodigious power, brutal acceleration and the sheer sound of the V10 engine in the Audi R8 5.2. Driving enthusiasts capable of working a clutch will find the manual transmission – complete with a metal gate – more satisfying than the surprisingly unrefined optional R tronic automatic. Regardless of which transmission you choose, the Audi R8 is as fast as it looks. A V8-powered R8 coupe will zoom from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, while those with the V10 can hit that benchmark in just 3.7 seconds. Convertible R8s are a tick slower and GTs slightly faster. The R8 benefits from an electronic differential lock (EDL), and uses speed-dependent electromechanical power steering. Audi's rear-biased all-wheel-drive system keeps the car planted and the large front and rear brakes make quick work of bringing it to a stop.

BEJEWELED POWERPLANT
Both the mid-mounted V8 and V10 engines are fine partners for the 2012 Audi R8 and, because they sit under a glass panel instead of a metal hood, they can be gazed upon like automotive jewelry.

METAL-GATED 6-SPEED MANUAL TRANSMISSION
The Audi R8's transmission has well-chosen ratios, but the icing on the cake is the metal gate that surrounds the shifter and provides a satisfying "clink" as each shift is completed.

2012 Audi R8 Details
Interior

Though it still boasts performance intentions, the R8's cabin is as luxurious and accommodating as those found in Audi's high-end sedans. Inside are supportive, 10-way Alcantara/leather seats and an ingenious seatbelt-mounted microphone system that allows for hands-free talking. Controls are within easy reach of the driver, particularly the metal-gated shifter on models with manual transmission. Not surprisingly, cargo space isn't exactly copious, but there is space for two golf bags behind the front seats, in addition to the 3.53-cubic-foot luggage compartment under the front hatch.

Exterior

The 2012 Audi R8 sits wide and low with a forward cabin to accommodate the engine in the rear. The R8 features a curvaceous hood and roof that form one sweeping arc. Spyder versions of the R8 have a black fabric power-folding top that can open or close in 19 seconds while the car travels at speeds up to 31 mph. When folded, the top is protected by a carbon fiber cover. One of the R8's most notable design features is the vertical "sideblade" that stands out even more with its contrasting color. LED running lights give the 2012 R8 a sinister look and sit flush with the giant air intakes below. Audi's design of its supercar works well today and should continue to stand out for many years to come.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The R8 comes standard with Audi's signature quattro all-wheel drive, 19-inch wheels, xenon headlights, leather/Alcantara seats, Bluetooth seatbelt microphone and a magnetic ride system. Versions with the 5.2-liter V10 have a rear-view camera, navigation system, Nappa leather seats and a superb, 465-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system. Spyder versions have a power-folding fabric roof that can be opened or closed in 19 seconds, even while the car is in motion.

Optional Equipment

Audi R8 models can be further spruced up with package-based options, including one that covers more of the interior in leather, another that clads portions of the car in carbon fiber and one that fits the car with ceramic brakes. The packages can add on several thousand dollars each, with the brake package alone costing nearly $10,000 extra. To get navigation on the V8-powered R8, you'll need to check the box for the $2,000-plus nav package.

Under the Hood

The R8 comes with a choice of two high-revving engines: A 4.2-liter V8 that makes 430 horsepower or a V10 that cranks out 525 horsepower. In the limited-edition GT models the V10 has been tuned to make 560 horsepower. Transmission choices are a wonderfully smooth and precise 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic that can be reluctant and puzzling in traffic. All R8 models are subject to a gas-guzzler tax.

4.2-liter V8
430 horsepower @ 7,900 rpm
316 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 11/20 mpg (manual), 13/21 mpg (automatic)

5.2-liter V10
525 horsepower @ 8,000 rpm
391 lb-ft of torque @ 6,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/19 mpg (manual), 13/19 mpg (automatic)

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2012 Audi R8 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.6
Out of 10

Based on 24 Ratings for the 2008 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.8/10
  • Reliability
    8.5/10
    Performance
    9.0/10
  • Comfort
    9.1/10
    Styling
    9.2/10

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."

A great car until you reach 45,000 miles

By on Thursday, July 02, 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."

12 people out of 28 found this review helpful

Fantastic driving enjoyment and ownership vs. 911

By on Monday, July 07, 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."

54 people out of 105 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"

19 people out of 33 found this review helpful

Customer service from Audi still lags!

By on Thursday, June 02, 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!"

30 people out of 42 found this review helpful

Great bang for the buck.

By on Saturday, March 26, 2011

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

"So, with a space frame and an engine derived from the Lamborghini Gallardo, for a fraction of the price this car is a great buy for someone who enjoys the best car for the best price. The styling to me is honestly a lot better than the Gallardo, this car has superb styling that seems to of been brought from the future. I just wish it had a more luxurious interior, the navigation system wasn't very well designed, as opposed to the BMW iDrive system, and the air conditioning styling can be found in the BMW e36 90's 3 series. I believe that the price can accommodate some nicer ergonomics and styling on the interior, the nappa leather is a must. Over all, this car is a great buy. I would recommend it for anyone who wants a great handling car, both at the track, and every day to work and back."

8 people out of 14 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?