2014 Audi R8 Walk Around

Little has changed aesthetically with the R8 for 2014. And that's not a bad thing. After all, it was captivatingly beautiful from the moment it hit US shores around five years ago. Changes (especially with regards to the exterior) have remained minimal.

The R8 appears wide and low with a hunkered down stance. Sharp lines frame sculpturally arched surfaces and a wrap-around contour visually connect the front, wheel wells, the flank and the rear of the R8. With the location of the R8's mid engine, it pushes the whole cabin slightly further forward. With the Coupe, the vertical air intakes, named the sideblades, can be ordered in many colors (including carbon fiber) and, again, indicate the position of the engine. The right sideblade also includes the aluminum gas cap. Rather than the sideblades, the Spyder displays large air intakes sculptured out of the flanks.

At the front of the car, the grille is minutely adjusted with tapered top corners and is finished in a high-gloss black. In the V10 models the struts are adorned with chrome strips. The bumper has also been tweaked fractionally, but we have a hard time distinguishing where. An optional carbon fiber front splitter (standard on the new V10) is also available and the mirrors on the R8 V10 are housed in carbon fiber.

All versions of the 2014 R8 now come standard with LED headlights. The headlights also receive static-turning lights. On all Coupe models the engine sits below a clear window, allowing a view of the German craftsmanship. Moving to the rear of the car, the all-LED taillights now boast a dynamic turn signal (in much the same way as the 2013 Mustang does). The directional sequence is created by 30 LED lights activating every 150 milliseconds, making the turn signal more intuitive, and complementing the new Audi headlamps. Both the head- and taillights are really the only major visible difference compared to the 2012 R8. Regardless, the R8 looks like a supercar, which isn't something you can say about the GT-R and 911, which appear more sport than super.

The spoiler on the R8 extends automatically at 62 mph. A large diffuser is situated underneath and is available in carbon fiber (standard on the V10). The exhaust system terminates in two round, chrome plated tail pipes (black on the V10 Plus) that produce the most intense, mystical music one could ever ask for. Both Coupe and Spyder bring onlookers to their knees, but for our money, the Spyder evokes an even greater level of emotion.

The R8 Spyder comes with the aforementioned 19-second fabric-folding roof, available in black, brown or red. The Spyder does not receive the glass engine-viewing window, replaced by engine cooling vents that run down behind the headrest. It comes adorned with an electrically lifted rear window (with defrost). This can be opened even when the top is up, allowing drivers situated in colder climates to hear the mesmerizing exhaust note without losing the tip of their nose to frost bite. The folding roof does eliminate 3.1 cubic feet of storage behind the two interior seats, however, making the only useable space the 3.5 cubic feet storage compartment situated in the front trunk.


The cabin in the Audi R8 is remarkably un-supercar-like. That isn't to say it is bad. Far from it, in fact. It maintains an unpretentious demeanor, not out of place in a sports sedan. Creature comforts are slightly fewer, of course, but in general it is familiar, comfortable and a pleasing place to be for long expeditions.

Seats are well bolstered and, on the power-adjusted options, support can be adjusted electronically to meet every individual's requirements. They are available framed in leather with Alcantara centers, or upholstered in full leather. Spyders even have treated leather to keep them cool in hot, sunny conditions. Headroom is good and a 6-foot plus driver would have little comfort issues in the R8.

Manual tilt/telescoping steering column helps find the correct driving position, and visibility is vast out of the front windscreen, but the C-pillar does cause a large blind spot, meaning additional caution must be taken at intersections. View out of the rear is reasonable on the Coupe but tougher on the Spyder. The optional rearview camera is a huge help when reversing, making its value well worth digging deep into darkest depths of your wallet.

Aluminum style cabin trim is standard and upgrades include carbon fiber and piano black. The most distinguishing feature is the monoposto: a large arc that encircles the driver's area of the cockpit. It starts in the door and ends in the center tunnel. All the instruments are well situated and easily visible.

Dials on the center console are in short demand and with that, operating the optional navigation can be clumsy and difficult at first. Thankfully, a proper handbrake is offered, not the electric handbrake button many manufacturers are now adopting.

The manual gearbox has a cool vintage-looking slotted metal gate, and the S-Tronic displays enlarged aluminum paddles on the wheel. Both gearboxes provide a beautifully crafted brushed aluminum gearlever. The S-Tronic can also entertain gear changes from the stick but the forward/backwards is, in our opinion, the wrong way around. Forward is to upshift, backwards is for downshifting. Other manufacturers occasionally adopt this too, but traditionally the other way makes more sense for the enthusiast. It's how racecars have always been produced, so why would sports cars not follow suit?

The navigation screen is clear and legible, but the actual nav function is less than agreeable. Left to its own devices, it doesn't zoom in enough to get a feel for tricky junctions, making missing a turn all too easy. The whole appearance of the navigation seems old fashioned.

Interior storage space in the R8 is minimal. You have a couple of shallow cup holders that won't hold a bottle of water without it tipping, and storage compartments are extremely small.

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