2017 Audi R8 Driving Impressions

With Audi’s Dynamic Select modes, the character of the car is flexible and versatile. In Comfort or Auto, it’s relaxed and very easy to drive. The S Tronic dual-clutch gearbox makes shifts that are perfect for everyday driving. There’s always power to spare, linear and constant, not arriving with a burst, like a turbocharged or supercharged car.

In Dynamic or Performance (which shuts off the traction control) mode, the R8 is ready for the track, ready for a top speed of 199 mph for the V10 and 205 mph for the V10 plus.

In Dynamic mode, the throttle response is quicker and so are the gearshifts; the dual-clutch transmission also holds the R8 in each gear for a longer time.

We’ve only gotten to drive a V10 Plus pre-production car. First thing you notice, after the brute acceleration (0 to 60 in 3.2 seconds will push your eyeballs back into your skull), is that the big carbon ceramic brakes can stop the car in such a short space that your eyeballs will pop back out. But they demand a light touch on the street.

Our pre-production R8 had the available active dynamic steering, which is quick and precise, but felt too light to us.

Approaching a corner, turn-in response is quick. If you enter a turn too quickly the R8 will understeer, and if you accelerate too hard through the turn it will oversteer, all as it should be. In a medium- or high-speed turn, grip of the Pirelli P Zero tires feels limitless, although of course it’s not, and if you believe it is you’ll come to grief. But if they do give up traction, as they did on us, the R8 recovers with relative neutrality and obedience. No matter the situation, the cornering limits are higher thanks to the all-wheel drive.

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