What is it like on the inside?
Perhaps the best supercar cabin of all. It’s spacious (check out the broad shelf behind the seats, the headroom and sense of space engendered by the far-off windscreen) and yet intimate. It draws you in, focuses your attention on the steering and fully digital dash to start with, and then teases your view outwards to such beautifully wrought details as the heating controls.
What's the best bit?
It’s the material execution and quality that really hits home, even above and beyond a Porsche 911. The tactility is masterfully done, the organisation of the controls is superb, the operation of the controls is just so. It’s a car you can spend a long time in, simply pressing buttons and moving switches. Driving position? You may want a bit of extra reach on the steering wheel, and we’d suggest avoiding the sportiest seats, which are too upright and thinly padded for comfort.
In some respects the R8 betrays its age with the absence of a touchscreen; the dash almost looks naked without one. But you soon realise having everything in front of you - with a rotary control on the centre console and shortcut buttons for things like the nav and radio - is so much better than the setup pursued by 99 per cent of manufacturers these days. True, it can be fiddly at first. And scribbling down postcodes on the rotary dial's touch-sensitive lid takes some getting used to. But far better that than aimlessly jabbing at a screen while all ten cylinders are doing their thing.
It’s not as easy to see out of as a McLaren Sports Series or 911, and it feels wide, but this is a design-led cabin that works on pretty much every level. Just be warned there’s not much load space under the nose - the 112-litre area limited by the presence of those front driveshafts, and a RWD one doesn't have a bigger boot despite not having any front driveshafts. Make up for it by exploiting that 226-litre shelf.
No major changes lately?
Changes for the facelifted version were very modest: new silver and brown colour schemes inside, and the reversing camera now standard. You will need it, especially in tight car parks. Audi’s virtual display is still the benchmark digital dash for legibility and organisation of information. And if you go for the RWD one you get a badge proclaiming how brave you are on the dashboard. Like those stickers you got at the dentist, but way cooler.