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2018 Audi R8: What You Need to Know

U.S. News & World Report - Cars logo U.S. News & World Report - Cars 8/22/2017 U.S. News & World Report
2018 Audi R8© Audi of America, Inc. 2018 Audi R8

The 2018 Audi R8 sits in the top half of our luxury sports car rankings. That’s no small feat, as this is one of the most competitive classes on our site. The R8 delivers unbelievable performance, and its main shortfalls are relatively common complaints for cars in this class.

The 2018 Audi R8 is ranked:

Is the Audi R8 a Good Car?

The R8 is a great sports car, but like many sports cars, it’s a bit short on practicality. There’s not a ton of cargo space, though it has more than some competitors, and there are only two seats. It also gets poor gas mileage (not uncommon for a V10 engine) and few driver assistance features. In other words, it’s the exact opposite of a family car.

But if want a fun-to-drive car that you can just enjoy on the open road, you’re looking at the right vehicle. It has an amazingly powerful engine and thrilling handling. Pinpoint steering, strong brakes, and standard all-wheel drive leave you ready to attack any stretch of road. The interior is beautiful, and the tech features are user-friendly.

Should I Buy the Audi R8?

The R8 is a great sports car, and it’s definitely worth considering. This is a class full of outstanding vehicles, though, so it doesn’t hurt to shop around. The Acura NSX is another high-performance supercar, and it’s a hybrid. If you want a car with great (though not outrageous) dynamics and one of the most opulent interiors of any car on the market, consider the Mercedes-Benz SL.

We Did the Research for You: 12 Reviews Analyzed

Let U.S. News make researching your next car a breeze. We combine the opinions of professional test drivers with hard data like reliability ratings, fuel economy estimates, and more. For this overview, we analyzed 12 Audi R8 reviews.

The Audi R8 was redesigned for the 2017 model year, and there are no major changes for 2018. As a result, this review uses applicable research and data from the 2017 and 2018 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs for a decade, and our team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the car industry. We create objective overviews of every vehicle we rank. To remain unbiased, we do not accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and a third party handles all advertising on our site.

How Much Does the Audi R8 Cost?

The base Audi R8 has a starting price of $164,900. That’s the highest starting price among luxury sports cars, and it’s tens of thousands of dollars more than many of its class rivals. However, the R8’s price is in line with those of other track-ready supercars like the Acura NSX.

The R8 Spyder delivers the same outstanding performance and luxury but in a convertible model, and it starts at just over $177,000. There’s also an even more high-performance R8, the V10 Plus, which starts around $194,000.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Audi dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Audi deals page.

Audi R8 Versus the Competition

The Audi R8 is a supercar that’s primarily designed to go fast. As such, it compares against supercars from automakers like McLaren, Lamborghini, and Ferrari. However, the R8 is also comparable to other powerful sports cars and supercars made from mainstream manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz and Acura.

Which Is Better: Audi R8 or Mercedes-Benz SL?

The Mercedes-Benz SL isn’t a supercar like the R8. The Audi’s priority is speed, whereas the Mercedes is designed to provide obscene amounts of luxury. The SL is a two-seat roadster with extremely comfortable seats that remain supportive on long drives. It has plenty of standard tech, though Audi’s MMI infotainment system is easier to use than the Benz’s COMAND system. The SL also has massaging seats and Mercedes’ Airscarf system – features to keep you comfortable in all situations. Additionally, the SL has considerably more trunk space than the R8. This Mercedes can still perform, though. It has a cushioned ride and agile handling, and there are several powerful engine choices. At the top of the lineup are two Mercedes-AMG models that put out 577 and 621 horsepower, respectively. If you’re looking for a car to take to the track, the R8 is clearly better, but for an everyday cruiser, the SL is probably a better choice.

Which Is Better: Audi R8 or Acura NSX?

The Acura NSX is a supercar with a twist: It’s a hybrid. It features a twin-turbo V6 engine and three electric motors. It’s not short on muscle – the powertrain puts out 573 horsepower. The NSX is faster than the R8, and it goes from zero to 60 mph in under three seconds. It also gets better fuel economy. The NSX delivers excellent handling, and like the R8, it comes with all-wheel drive. Inside is where the Audi gets a leg up on this Acura. The NSX has plenty of soft-touch materials, but it doesn’t have the dazzling interior of some luxury sports cars. The NSX’s seats are comfortable and spacious, and there are plenty of standard and available features. The NSX has roughly half as much cargo space as the R8. The NSX is a great car, but it’s still just a hair below the R8 in terms of overall quality, making the Audi the better choice.

R8 Performance

R8 Engine: You Shall Not Pass!

… The R8, that is. If you get passed in this car, you have only yourself to blame. A V10 engine comes in all models. It produces 540 horsepower in the base model and 610 in V10 Plus models. All R8s have a top speed of at least 199 mph and go from zero to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds or less. This Audi has enough power and acceleration for you to test the theory of relativity if you want to.

R8 Gas Mileage: Whaddaya Got There, Numbers?

If there’s a downside to the R8’s outstanding performance, it’s the paltry fuel economy ratings. The R8 gets just 14 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. Those are low ratings even by luxury sports car standards. To make matters worse, the R8 requires premium gasoline, though so do many class rivals.

The R8 will cost you much more at the gas pump than most of its rivals. You’d save about $450 a year by fueling the Acura NSX rather than the R8. That number jumps to $650 if you compare the R8 to the Mercedes-Benz SL.

R8 Ride and Handling: Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This

This Audi is one of the most athletic cars on the road, and its sharp steering helps you navigate winding roads. Quattro all-wheel drive comes standard, helping you stay planted around turns. V10 Plus models feature a sport-tuned suspension, and other R8 models feature an adjustable suspension with different settings.

R8 Interior

How Many People Does the R8 Seat?

The R8 seats two people. Its standard seats are comfortable on long drives. The racing shell seats that come in the V10 Plus model offer more side bolstering, but they’re less comfortable for people with wide shoulders and offer fewer adjustments. The standard seats are available in V10 Plus models, however.

R8 and Car Seats

The R8 doesn’t feature LATCH car-seat connectors.

R8 Interior Quality

The R8 has a beautifully styled interior and top-notch materials. It also has some stylistic touches befitting a supercar. The overall aesthetic is beautiful, and this Audi truly feels like a blend of luxury and performance.

R8 Cargo Space

The R8 offers a bit more cargo space than some supercars, but its cargo hold still isn’t that useful. There’s just 8 cubic feet of total storage space, split between the front trunk and a space behind the seats. You’ll have enough room for a few pieces of carry-on luggage, but don’t expect to haul any large or even moderately sized items.

R8 Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features in the R8 include a Bang & Olufsen audio system, satellite radio, Audi’s virtual cockpit, two USB ports, Bluetooth, a Wi-Fi hot spot, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and the MMI infotainment system with navigation, handwriting recognition, and voice control.

The virtual cockpit features a 12.3-inch screen behind the steering wheel, in place of a traditional gauge cluster. It shows all the typical driver information and acts as the sole infotainment screen. While the graphics are sharp and the MMI system is responsive, some users lament the absence of a secondary display screen mounted in the dash that the passenger can easily see.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

R8 Reliability

Is the Audi R8 Reliable?

The 2018 Audi R8 is part of a generation that typically earns a predicted reliability rating of three out of five from J.D. Power and Associates. That’s an average rating for a vehicle in general, though some other luxury sports cars get better scores.

Audi R8 Warranty

The R8 has a similar warranty to most other luxury sports cars. Audi covers the R8 with a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty.

R8 Safety

R8 Crash Test Results

The 2018 Audi R8 has not been crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

R8 Safety Features

Standard active safety features in the R8 include a rearview camera and front and rear parking sensors.

Which Audi R8 Model Is Right for Me?

There aren’t many differences between the various R8 models, so choosing the right trim boils down to two basic questions: Do you want the most track-oriented performance, and do you want a convertible? If the answer to both is no, stick with the standard Coupe model, which will save you some money. If you want a convertible, the R8 Spyder is your answer. If you want to really get after it on a track, go with the Coupe V10 Plus, which has a more powerful engine and other performance upgrades.

Audi R8 Coupe

The Audi R8 Coupe has a starting price of $164,900. It has plenty of standard features, including Nappa leather upholstery, power-adjustable and heated seats, a 12.3-inch driver’s display screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a Wi-Fi hot spot, the MMI infotainment system and more. Oh, and it features a 540-horsepower V10 engine. There aren’t a lot of optional features, but you can upgrade to the V10 Plus, which starts at $194,400.

There are a few differences with the V10 Plus. It features racing shell seats and adds a sport-tuned suspension. Also, the engine puts out 610 horsepower instead of 540, as the V10 Plus is all about maximizing performance.

Audi R8 Spyder

The Audi R8 Spyder has a starting price of $177,100. It’s identical to the standard R8 Coupe with one notable exception: The R8 Spyder is a convertible. The top will fold down at speeds of up to 31 mph.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Audi dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Audi deals page.

The Final Call

The 2018 Audi R8 is a supercar that fares well in our luxury sports car rankings. It delivers breathtaking performance, both in terms of engine power and handling ability. Many regard it as one of the easiest and most comfortable supercars to drive regularly. It also has a refined interior with plenty of soft-touch materials and user-friendly technology. This Audi isn’t the most practical vehicle, but it excels in the areas you expect it to.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

Read the full 2018 Audi R8 reviewon U.S. News & World Report for more details, photos, specs and prices.

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