Engine capacity: 5.2-litre V10
Power output (bhp @ rpm): 602 @ 8,250
Top speed (mph): 205
Fuel economy (mpg): 23.0
CO2 emissions (g/km): 287
On seeing the new Audi R8 V10, there are two choices. You could ask if the world really needs another 200mph two-seater sports car that costs the equivalent of the GDP of Monaco to service and run. Or you could just get in and fire it up.
Push the red start button on the steering wheel and the V10 engine explodes into life with a blitz of revs. You know this because the engine is right behind you, encased in a glass and metal vault. It's bracketed in securely, but I'm sure at times I could see this 600bhp monster breathing fire and rearing up in my rear-view mirror.
The R8 is a rare thing. It's a naturally aspirated supercar, which means that there are no turbos, just the use of atmospheric pressure. This is better, car snobs will tell you, because it gives immediate acceleration and a punch you can't get from the turbocharged engines that are increasingly common in performance vehicles.
This somewhat backwards-looking engine choice comes at a time when car makers are increasingly taking the excitement out of supercars, dialling down engines, replacing traditional steering systems and generally making them less terrifying to drive. The odd thing is, once you've overcome starting the naturally aspirated R8, it's totally normal to drive around town. This, though, didn't stop new Top Gear star Chris Evans retching (if the tabloids are to be believed) after being driven around in one of these earlier this week. His driver must have been pushing hard.
So the R8 has two sides. In comfort mode it is civilised and will happily run you to Canary Wharf and back, but hit the "sport" button on an open road and an addictive, howling madness is unleashed. In fact, the R8 V10 has the same amount of power as a Lamborghini Huracán. There's even a button that opens up the exhaust system, producing a delightful run of crackles and bangs on the overrun.
The bankers who buy this car – it costs an annual bonus over £100,000 – should be wary about hitting either of these buttons. That said, there is a joy to be had switching back and forth between tranquil cruising and blistering performance. Be warned, this will utterly confuse your passenger. Just ask Chris Evans.Reuse content