What is it?
The new Audi R8 has found another two cylinders and lost nothing in the process.
Flat, tight, communicative, supple - all the stuff you really need here. The good thing about the R8 is that you can have great fun driving it in even the worst conditions (which we're used to in the UK). The fact is that it feels nicely rear-wheel drive most of the time, but when the crunch comes, it'll pull you out of trouble. Which is what most of us really want. The V10 version builds on the success of the V8 - it's slightly sharper but none the worse for the power-up.
Magnetic-fluid damping is standard, so you can gad about in an R8 V10 without hurting anything specific. And the 5.2-litre V10 has been ‘de-tuned' by 35bhp by Audi to make it quieter and easier to drive than it is in its other home, the Lamborghini Gallardo. It's a pretty remarkably easy to use supercar. Nice seats.
Ho. Here's the good bit. Think the 414bhp V8 was squirty? The 5.2 V10 punts out 525bhp, chucks the R8 to 62mph in 3.9 seconds and eggs it on to nearly 200ph. Third gear overtakes are very special; it revs to 8,700rpm. That'll make your ears curl up into small, fleshy balls. And then fall off. So yes, it has the measure of most supercars out there.
On the inside
Some say that the interior is like a big TT, but that's wrong. And there's nothing wrong with the interior of a TT even if it were true. The fact is that the R8 is sober and fairly restrained, but one the worse for that. It lets the undoubted quality shine through at the very least. Looks, feels and smells very well made.
The R8 has built a reputation as a very useable supercar and the trend is the same with the V10 - there's a boot up front and plenty of stowage. You'll have to pack light (it's still a fairly focussed sports car), but you can get away with enough stuff for two or a trip away. Just leave the kids at home with Bob the Builder on repeat: they'll work out how to open tins by about the third day.
High, but not especially so for a car this fast. Insurance is group 20, servicing is stiff and you won't see more than about 20mpg even if you're careful, but who cares. Really?