Easy to get in and out, and spacious enough once youve stepped into the cockpit. Our test car came equipped with standard fitting bucket seats, whose pads that embrace the torso and hip offer comforting support. The driving position is good, but still a long way from behind the open doors of the McLaren 570S. The R8 is a little too short in terms of the possibility of adjusting to my taste; I realised that the steering wheel did not offer enough in terms of how to reach it, leaving my feet floating a little too close to the pedals.
That said, the V10 engine has a not entirely surprising ability to make you forget such complaints from the moment you press the big red start button on the Alcantara coated steering wheel of the R8. Even in inactivity, the aggressive, sharp-edged buzzer informs you of the fact that you are sitting a few centimetres in front of something very special.
Bury the accelerator in a straight stretch of the road and the result is as dramatic as you might expect. The acceleration is deliciously linear and impressively fast up to 6000 rpm, at which point everything becomes quite absurd. To describe the accompanying soundtrack as electrifying would also be to underestimate it a bit.
The thing is, however, that you cant help but feel that the rhythm and noise are there to mask a car that otherwise wouldnt be as exciting as your crib sheet might lead you to believe. The direction, for example, is impressively sensitive and gives the R8 a front end that can change direction with commendable agility, but you never get the feeling that the car rejoices at the prospect of being asked to do so. This is not necessarily due to a lack of feeling – theres actually a whisper of communication present if youre looking for it, but theres also a distancing about its dynamic character that you wont find, for example, in a McLaren 570S or a Porsche 911 GT3.
The other side of the coin is that what R8 lacks in expressiveness, it compensates with sure composure; and it does not seem unreasonable to assume that many will be attracted by the almost imperturbable way in which it clings to asphalt. Thats not to say you cant make it turn around its center by backing into a corner on the brakes, or with a subtle elevation of the throttle in the middle of the curve, but it never feels like it really likes to be driven that way. It feels characteristically Audi in that sense – and for many that will be a draw.
The same can be said of his impressive fluidity. Not only is it flexible and controlled at high speed, but it also does not crumble at more relaxed speeds. You could tour the city on the R8 all day: the seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox is impressively smooth when exiting a stop, given how quickly it will change sprockets when youre at maximum attack; visibility from the cab is good; and the checkweights are light. It can be a civilised and comfortable car.