Owning and driving a supercar in India is every kid’s dream. But very few have the opportunity to realise this dream. There are many structural barriers to owning a supercar in India - the high cost, poor road conditions, non existent privacy culture and weak after sales and roadside breakdown support.
But for those privileged few who can afford these magnificent creations and live with these structural barriers, there is no greater joy than getting into the cockpit of a supercar and heading out for a drive.
Everything about a supercar is magical - they look like machines from the future, sound like a mechanical symphony, go like you were being pushed by the hand of God, and corner like they are on rails. The feeling of being in a supercar can only be experienced. No amount of words can describe it. These machines have the ability to create stratospheric levels of AdrenaSense (adrenaline for the senses).
One such globally loved supercar is the Audi R8 (or Ironman Tony Stark’s car as it's popularly known). Launched over a decade ago and currently in its 3rd generation, it's one of the largest selling supercars in the world because of its supercarish practicality (now that term is an oxymoron, but I will explain a bit later).
I got to sample a gen 2 Audi R8 V10 Spyder for a few days and was blown away by its razor sharp looks, mind numbing engine and exhaust note, and overall practicality. Being a spyder, the car almost had 2 personalities - one with the top on and one with the top off.
The V10 variant of the R8 comes with a 10 cylinder longitudinal v engine. The engine is the same unit that powered the previous gen Lamborghini Gallardo and powers the current gen Lamborghini Hurracan. It produces nearly 550 HP of power and 500 NM of torque. So crazy is the power delivery of this engine, that it propels the car like a rocket ship and you have to hang on for dear life. But the standout feature of the engine has to be it's deep and throaty sound. It's a modern day mechanical orchestra that rises to a menacingly intoxicating howl as the engine reaches its redline of 8000+ rpm. The engine sits just behind you and so the sound is served fresh out of the oven. Trust me, this car is worth buying just for the engine. Period !
The variant I drove had the 6 speed automated mechanical R tronic gearbox. Now this has been called the Achilles heels of the previous gen R8. It's a single clutch automated manual gearbox. So the shifts are not as fast or smooth as a dual clutch unit. But you have to learn the operate the gearbox to unleash its potential. You have to lift your foot off the throttle (like you would in a regular manual) to allow the gear to change swiftly. Once you train your mind and legs to operate the unit properly, it's a very fun gearbox to play with, especially in S mode with the paddle shifts. The “pop paps” it produces on upshifts and downshifts from that glorious exhaust note have to be heard to believed. They are truly addictive.
Suspension, Handling and Ride Quality
The R8 is designed to be a practical supercar. One that you can theoretically use everyday. So the suspension setup is on the softer side by supercar standards. What this translates into in the real world is a sublime ride quality. This is one supercar that you can actually drive for hours without any discomfort to your body.
It comes with Audi’s renowned Quattro all wheel drive system in its highest state of tune. So while it does not have the finesse and and playfulness of a rear wheel drive car, it has incredible balance due to the engine being mid mounted and it corners like it's on rails thanks to the Quattro system. Even in inclement weather and on our poor road surfaces, the R8 has incredible balance and cornering ability. I can only imagine what she will be like on a race track.
The Audi R8 Spyder is the everyday supercar with an engine straight out of supercar rock n roll hall of fame, the looks of an Italian supermodel and the practicality of a daily driver.
What I don't like is the ground clearance and the slightly wobbly front brakes under heavy load.
With the top down it has the ability to take you to a different level - you don't feel that you are driving fast, you feel like you are flying low. It's truly magical !!
AdrenaSense Score - 8/10