Is it possible that Audi has created absolute perfection? Well, although not quite there, the line has come awfully close with the 2014 R8 Coupe. At the core of R8 is one of two powerful engines. The 4.2-liter V8 gets mounted right behind the passenger compartment. It comes with a standard six-speed manual transmission, but a seven-speed automated manual is available. This engine generates 430 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque, and accelerates to 60 mph in a quick 4.5 seconds. Do not expect much in terms of fuel economy though, as it yields 11 mpg in the city and 20 mph on the highway. The optional engine is a fierce 5.2-liter V10 that cranks out 525 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque. It sprints to 60 mph in only 3.7 seconds, but fuel economy is depressing at 14 mpg combined. If that's still not enough power for you, there is a Plus trim that tweaks horsepower to 550, and reduces acceleration time to 3.4 seconds. The cabin is comfortable enough to drive as a daily car, but its preposterous power, tenacious grip, and quick reflexes make it every bit as exhilarating to drive as other roadsters. The ride may be a bit firm for some though, even with the adaptive suspension.
• Navigation - The Audi Navigation Plus system streamlines controls for navigation, audio, and Bluetooth. It is worth upgrading simply for the better interface.
• Audio - Seven speakers, auxiliary jack, satellite radio and CD player are included in the standard audio system. The Convenience package adds a 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen® system with iPod interface.
• Universal Remote - Eliminate the need for multiple remote controls on your dash for your garage door and alarm system with this universal transmitter.
• Bluetooth® - Keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road while you send, end, and receive calls with this feature.
Considering R8's base MSRP of $119,150 it is highly unlikely that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety will ever perform crash tests on this coupe. Braking was tested though, and the R8 consistently stopped from 60 mph somewhere between 104 and 106 feet. This is pretty impressive considering the power and weight of these engines. Safety features worth mentioning include:
• Rearview camera
• Front and rear parking sensors
• Tire pressure monitoring
• Electronic brakeforce distribution
• Traction control
• Turn signal mirrors
• Post-collision safety system
• Emergency interior trunk release
• Brake assist
• Engine immobilizer
• Remote anti-theft alarm system
• Dusk sensing headlights
The 2014 Audi R8 Coupe was designed to exhilarate, and it starts with first impressions. It gets an aggressive stance, aerodynamic styling, pronounced air intakes, LED headlights, Singleframe® grille, 19-inch wheels, and a transparent engine cover that shows off the mid-range design and carbon sigma inlays.
The cockpit of R8 welcomes you with sophisticated micrometallic inlays, plush leather, soft touch surfaces, and a sporty flat-bottom steering wheel. Although you melt into the diamond-stitched seat, you appreciate that is every bit as supportive as it is comfortable. There is plenty of legroom in this two-seat coupe. On the downside, as eye-catching as the swooping dash design is, it does put many major controls out of reach. The Multi Media Interface does not compete with those in Porsche and Mercedes, and the audio controls are surprisingly intuitive.
With 3.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the seat you will not be hauling much more than an overnight bag.