A Week with an Audi R8

Please, no more photos

by Joe LaMuraglia

2008 Audi R8

When they handed me the keys to the 2008 Audi R8 last Friday in Atlanta, the last thing they said to me was “You’ll get sick of it after a while”. I looked at the sleek, gorgeous exterior of the exotic vehicle and couldn’t IMAGINE ever getting sick of it but wondered why they would make that comment.
“Is it the suspension? Will my kidneys hurt after a while?”, I asked. It was a fair question; the R8 is low, wide and sits on massive tires. It wouldn’t have surprised me if it traveled down the road like a go-kart; transmitting every bump, rock and crack it encountered.

2008 Audi R8

“No, you’ll get sick of the attention” they responded. ME? Sick of attention? HA! That’ll be the day! Little did I know how right they were; at least about the AMOUNT of attention the sexy beast garnered.
I drove from Atlanta, GA to Asheville, NC the first day and never in all of my days have I ever had so much attention on the road. The only car that has come close was the bright yellow Saturn Sky I had back in 2006. The response to the R8 was unbelievable with people chasing me on the highway, taking cell phone photos, giving me the thumbs-up and I think even a few requests of marriage. It is THAT distinctive.
The most surprising thing about piloting the R8 isn’t the reaction from others – you actually get used to that after a while – it is the fact that it is such a livable vehicle. In the cockpit, the sound of the 420 HP engine is muted at speed, the climate control works perfectly, the stereo is sublime and the seats are incredibly comfortable. Even the ride was incredibly smooth. I’d actually forget I was in a $132,000 (as tested) vehicle until I’d down shift, hear the beautiful V8 sing in my ear and blow by whomever happened to be in my way. Getting out of the car was at times a surprise as well. It took the mean, aggressively gorgeous sheet metal to remind me that I wasn’t in an A4. It is that easy to live with.

2008 Audi R8

Like many things of beauty and desire, it isn’t a perfect car. The R8 I drove came with the “R Tronic” semi-automatic transmission. It is, in my opinion, the weakest link in an otherwise amazing vehicle. Shifting in full automatic mode is slow, clunky and altogether unnatural. I was able to master the paddle shifters and learned how to shift smoothly in traffic and at speed. If I were to spend the money on this car, I’d opt for the manual 6-speed transmission. Rumor has it that it is sublime.
I left Asheville on Sunday after taking my brother and sister-in-law on quick jaunts on the tight mountain roads around their home. My brother was all smiles but I believe I made my sister-in-law wet herself. The R8 simply attacks the road and if I’m not mistaken we straightened out a few curves in the mountains of NC. One thing is for sure, people up there had never seen anything like the R8.
The remainder of the week was spent running every conceivable errand I could think of. My partner and I even did the grocery shopping and it all fit in the rather generous front trunk. Request for rides filled the remainder of my time and I did my best to show off the R8 while maintaining a good relationship with the local police. One friend was shaking he was so excited after the drive. Did I mention that this car is incredibly easy to drive fast?
It isn’t often that my emotions get the best of me but I want this car. It makes no sense whatsoever but if I ever win the lottery or make millions, I’ll be heading to my local Audi dealer. It is gorgeous, distinctive, FAST and easy to live with. You may have to get an agent to handle all the requests for photos but the feeling you get driving it makes up for all the paparazzi.
For a more rational, but not necessarily less effusive, review see what my colleague Marty Padgett had to say about the Audi R8.
Check out more photos, a brief video and the trailer to IRON MAN below.

Shut up and listen

I always create incredibly elaborate ideas of videos I can do in my head and I rarely have the time or manpower to do them. I had to at least share the beautiful sound of an Audi R8 at start-up.

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