Audi R8

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Audi R8 Spyder

Road Test

Audi R8 V8 Spyder S-Tronic driven

Driven January 2013

Additional Info

Ferrari doesn't offer a manual in any of its cars. The 12C is flappy-paddle only. You can't buy a Jag XK with a clutch, nor a Bentley. But you can still have the R8 with a manual; so - as a Driving Enthusiast - that's the one you'd choose, right?

Wrong. The R8's new 7spd S tronic dual-clutch transmission, available across the newly facelifted R8 range, is so good that, in this rare instance, we'd ignore the manual and go flappy. It's as brilliantly clean and rapid here as it was in the 550bhp V10 Plus we drove last month, capable of almost full-auto anonymity or thumpingly quick downshifts depending on your mood.

Packaging constraints meant the R8 had to make do with a clunky automated manual until now, but the new 'box is somehow finagled into a space just 600mm long. Neat engineering. With a three-shaft layout, it's able to skip down two or even four gears in a blink, a useful trick when you're bumbling along in sixth and need to find second for an urgent overtake.

And the S tronic box improves economy, lowers CO2 and cuts a couple of 10ths from the 0-62mph time. Let your left leg wither to a spindly husk and embrace the two-pedal future!

Sam Philip

The numbers
4163cc, V8, 4WD, 430bhp, 317lb ft, 22.8mpg, 289g/km CO2, 0-62mph in 4.3secs, 187mph, 1585kg

The verdict
New dual-clutch 'box keeps R8 at the top of the pile

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