The dashboard of the Audi R8 is so wide that many people who thought they knew the model well enough might be surprised that they probably don’t. First, we’re here to talk about the R8 sports car that’s on the road, but did you know there’s another one Audi Cars with the R8 badge? While this article will focus on the road legal Audi R8 that began in 2006, Audi has been wearing the R8 badge since 1999.
Indeed, the R8 is a racing nameplate born at the knees of Le Mans before road legal versions were produced and some concepts that may never see the light of day. The R8 journey started with Audi R8R 1999 Convertible, a special prototype developed for the intense 24-hour Le Mans event. The R8R was followed by the Audi R8C in the same year, the Audi R8 (LMP) in 2020, the Audi Le Mans quattro in 2003, the Type 42 Audi R8 in 2007, the 2008 Audi R8 Le Mans concept, and the second-generation 2015 Type 4S Audi R8.
From current indications, R8 records will last two generations. If anyone has to ask what’s nostalgic about the Audi R8, tell them that the first production Audi R8 had a six-speed manual transmission. Also, the roar of the exhaust and LED headlights are unforgettable. Let’s focus on the 2009 Audi R8.
The evolution of the Audi R8
A proper appreciation for the 2009 Audi R8 begins by following the evolution of the Audi R8 that began in 2006; A two-seater mid-engine sports car bearing the Audi quattro permanent all-wheel drive. The German automaker, Audi AG, had its High performance division, Audi Sport GmbHexclusively designed, developed and built the street legal R8 based on the Space Frame platform, also known as the Space Frame aluminum and steel frame.
Audi developed the Space Frame technology as a lightweight alternative to steel that is at the same time more rigid. The technology consists of a self-supporting aluminum chassis, the same platform used at the time for the Lamborghini Gallardo (now the Lamborghini Huracan). Remember that Volkswagen and Audi are the two parent companies of Lamborghini.
The 2009 Audi R8 is part of the first generation of the legal Type 42 Audi that debuted at the Paris Motor Show in September 2006. This was the first ever production car with full LED headlights. Production of the second generation Type 42 Audi R8 ended in August 2015. What we find totally unacceptable is that some people are skeptical about the condition of the R8 supercar, particularly the 2009 Audi R8. The car is a supercar even though it is well suited for everyday commuters.
What we love most is that the R8 is the perfect blend of luxury and performance. Here is one of the few supercars that hasn’t sacrificed comfort on the altar of performance. It’s not hard to feel like you need a balaclava and hand gloves every time you drive. We’re nostalgic for this first-generation R8 because it was nothing short of a futuristic speed machine meant to give the Porsche 911 Turbo a serious try for its money.
To ensure occupant comfort matches the thrill of driving, the interior is covered in premium leather and Alcantara, the kind you’d expect in higher-priced Audi sedans. The roofline is expertly cut to provide enough headroom for even tall passengers, and the seats are 10-way adjustable with storage space behind them.
The interior is loaded with distinctive driver-centric, easy-to-use cockpit electronics that Audi has dubbed the “Monoposto”, effectively reminiscent of the Mazda Miata Mono-Posto concept.
The spacious, low exterior design is a bold statement of the R8’s sporty character. The sweeping arch of the hood and roof accentuated by the LED daytime running lights give the car a graphic-like atmosphere. The futuristic curves of the 2009 Audi R8 will undoubtedly add to the task of building a worthy successor. This car will proudly sit alongside the latest models ten or even twenty years from now.
Beauty aside, a gut is one of our favorite features. It has a preppy 4.2 liter V8 engine that produces 420 horsepower at 7800 rpm and 317 pound-feet of torque at 4500 to 6000 rpm.
The engine occupies a mid-body position, as is the case with the mid-size Audi RS sedan. Power is transmitted to the wheels via an exciting Graziano R-Tronic 6-speed automatic transmission or a 7-speed DL501 S-Tronic dual-clutch manual transmission. The R-Tronic sequential transmission came in about an extra $10,000.
The 2009 R8 had EPA city/highway fuel economy estimated at 19/19 for the manual transmission variant and 13/18 for the car. As mentioned earlier, this car came with the quattro all-wheel drive system as standard. The best part is that it offers performance-oriented torque distribution with the front wheels only getting 10% of the power, outperforming competitors, and even other Audi models that offer 40/60 torque distribution.
How does the 2009 Audi R8 stack up against today’s other sports cars?
We will focus on one car only; The Porsche 911 Turbo, the R8’s closest competitor. We’ll be fair and straight by comparing both brands for the same year of production. For starters, the R8 looked and looked cooler, like something lifted straight from a poster or sketchbook. We didn’t say 911 was boring in any way. To be fair, the design of the 2009 Porsche 911 is completely unique to Porsche-y. In this sense, it is undisputed.
So far, the 911 is faster even without the turbo, while the R8 offers a level of practicality and luxury that only the 911 aspires to. And that the unique R8 acceleration? Even the 911’s enviable steering couldn’t drown it out. The 2009 Porsche 911 also outperforms the 2009 Audi R8 with its monocoque cockpit. Compared to the 911’s, the R8’s are easier to reach, but first, you have to get in the car.
Most supercars suffer from entry and exit taxes, and unfortunately, the 2009 R8 is not exempt from this disease.
Ultimately Gearheads is happy to put out the $116,000 to $125,000 for the Badass 420hp V8 engine that’s in-house behind the R8’s flashy glass panel. This, combined with the six-speed manual transmission with a gearshift, suitably selected ratios and a satisfying sound heralds a full shift. Unfortunately, production of the R8 will end by 2023. The Audi V10 R8 will have an all-electric replacement. Until then, the R8 is still kicking ass.
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