Nothing like ten cylinders to raise the pulse rate and help the digestive system do its work. I digested this theory after a scrumptious lunch while coming down the mine shaft in fourth gear on the Kayalami race track in Johannesburg. Another lefthander three seconds later and we’ve already hit 160km/h. Power down to third and within a second I was back doing a pedestrian 100km/h. Then a sharp right, full throttle and away the ten-man strong choir is back on song again.
No time to think of digestion as soon enough the fabled turn 13 which is now milder than before, having had its kinks ironed out recently. Never mind; it still has some good kick and can land a feisty R2 million supercar on the kitty litter, if one is not careful. Up the main straight and the full might of the V10 is heard echoing all around the track; I propose all around the Kayalami/ Midrand 5km radius but that’s just my own hypothesis. At least the sound it makes is reminiscent of racing V8s that often entertain paying spectators. Pay to hear this thing at full glory? Yes I can!
I can’t recall having lapped Kayalami this quickly before, apart from that one time in the Lamborghini Superleggera. Speaking of which, the car I have been driving R8 V10, has Lambo power under the rear glass hood. Audi will dispute this and say it’s actually the other way around, but it doesn’t matter. Point is, this is the level at which the car operates.
To get a little technical we can start with the engine, arguably the most important part.
Foaming f%*# furious froth under the bonnet is a naturally aspirated 5.2-litre V10 with the two cylinder banks angled at 90 degrees. It features dry sump lubrication, direct fuel injection and an intake manifold with charge movement flaps.
Maximum power is 386kW at 8000rpm and peak torque is 530Nm at 6500rpm. Clearly this is no mute; it screams like an orgasm faker. Nothing fake about these figures though; 0 – 100km/h in 3.9 seconds, 0 – 200km/h in 12 seconds (12.3 for the manual) and a top speed of 316km/h. Probably nowhere to reach that top end in our urban areas and slogging it down 1300km to the Karoo to test its authenticity seems a little too much for me. So I’ll just take Audi’s word for it.
The engine is real, what about the rest? Well running things are a choice of two gearboxes, a 6-speed manual with alloy gates (see interior shot) or an R Tronic sequential ‘box. Power is sent to all four wheels via the revised quattro system. Amazingly the system constantly sends up to 85% of torque to the rear wheels, essentially making it a RWD car with AWD capabilities.
Belying its compact looks the R8 V10 actually measures 4.4m in length and is almost 2 metres wide (excluding side mirrors). Unladen weight is 1620kg which is helped by an all-aluminium space frame body. You feel very little of that weight being transferred around the car as you take corners. It is a very planted car. The brakes are exceptional as they put a stop to the 235/35 R19 front and 305/30 R19 rear tyres. Anyone for a large dose of grip? Then you’ve come to the right place. This thing corners so sharply and so quickly you expect plenty of tyre squeal, but it doesn’t come. Good lines may also explain it but even they need good tools to take advantage of them.
I had a chance to ride inside an R Tronic version which exhibited some excellent blipping techniques when changing gears. Pay for that sound? Oh hell yeah!
Kayalami is a very long and technical track with a total of 14 corners plus a pit straight that winds up and slopes down rather than going flat ahead. For the R8 V10 to feel so at home there means it is quite sorted, inside and out.
For the price, looks and performance why would you look at spending another million or more on a Lambo?
*All pictures were shot with a NOKIA 6210 Navigator