Given the new-found popularity of this Audi sports car, bringing out the second version would always provide challenges. Fortunately for drivers everywhere, however, Audi have produced a stunning vehicle that's even better than the first.
Now only available with a superb V10 engine, which has been tweaked to produce more energy for less fuel, the new R8 has a stronger and stiffer chassis that's crafted from a mix of carbon and aluminium.
It also comes with a better, smarter four-wheel drive system, a redesigned interior and subtly tweaked exterior styling.
At a glance it's obvious that this car has been designed to compete with the likes of the Porsche 911 Turbo, the McLaren 570S and the Ferrari 488 GTB. In our view it does this and more - offering a truly rounded, everyday sports car that provides comfort as well as thrills.
The car's powerhouse is one of the best engines on the market: a 5.2-litre, naturally-aspirated V10, paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch S tronic that executes gear shifts within hundredths of a second, and an intelligent quattro drive system that provides maximum stability and dynamism on any road surface. The driver can manually shift gears using the gear selector lever, or use the shift paddles on the steering wheel. Better still, at the push of a button, the driver can start off with launch control which engages the clutch at around 4,500 rpm - applying the power of the V10 to the road with perfectly controlled tire slip.
Speaking of the engine, it's gained more power than on its last incarnation, now coming with 533BHP and revving up to 2,500 rpm for a few seconds as soon as the engine is started. You'll fall in love with the throaty hissing, roaring noise this engine makes as soon as it gets going!
The tweaked engine produces wonderful results: it enables the car to zoom from 0 to 62.1 MPH in just 3.5 seconds, before accelerating to a top speed of 198.8 MPH. Acceleration is disarmingly smooth, and the car pulls effortlessly from just 1000RPM. Gear changes are barely perceptible, while steering is as responsive as you'd wish on a car that maintains its composure regardless of the surface conditions.
The Audi R8 also comes with Dynamic Drive, which allows you to switch between Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual modes.
The second generation Audi R8 is a supercar that delivers in every respect. Sleek and refined, it easily competes with similar cars in the style stakes, while not sacrificing an inch of cabin comfort or practicality. The ride quality is superb, and the car performs spectacularly on all sorts of surfaces, hugging the road as if it were glued there. Although it's guaranteed to make an impression, the R8 isn't as flashy as some of its rivals, meaning that it's perfect for making a discreet but powerful impression at all sorts of occasions.
The Audi R8 is very obviously a mid-engined sports car, with its prominent front cabin, long back and relatively short wheelbase. The design is slightly sharper than the old model: the sideblades, for instance, are now interrupted by the continuous shoulder line that gives the sides a look of tension and excitement. The wide, low-profile grille has a strong sculpted appearance, while the dynamic look at the rear is shaped by the diffuser and the ventilation screen of the engine compartment.
Our version comes in a glorious gloss white, which accentuates the sharp lines of the car and its powerful stance. It's a car that's bound to attract positive attention, wherever you go.
Dubbed 'one of the best cabins in any car right now', the interior is a joy to experience. Despite the R8 being a sports car it provides a great driving position and clear view out, not to mention a surprising amount of legroom for even the tallest of drivers.
The aesthetic concept expressed in the car's exterior is also present inside, with a lightweight design concept that manifests itself in taut lines and an arch-shaped "monoposto" that wraps around the cockpit. The instrument panel appears to float weightlessly, and turbine-shaped controls for the automatic air conditioner are arranged along its lower edge.
Fittingly, seating comes in the form of low-mounted sport seats with integrated head restraints, covered in the finest Alcantara, which are entirely new for this edition. Storage is adequate for this size of car, with 112 litres of luggage space up front and a further 226 litres behind the seats.
For the driver, the Audi R8 delivers a race-car like experience. All important functions can be controlled without drivers taking their hands off the leather steering wheel, while vital information is conveyed through the Audi virtual cockpit: a TFT monitor with a 12.3-inch screen that presents all details in intricately rendered, high-resolution graphics. The driver also benefits from MMI navigation plus, as well as an infotainment package that includes a Bang & Olufsen sound system and the Audi phone box.