2015 Audi R8

What's new for 2015? The 2015 Audi R8 gets two new trim levels called the V10 Carbon Spyder and the limited-edition 570-horsepower V10 Competition Coupe. There are also a few equipment changes including standard power-folding exterior mirrors on base models and an optional sport exhaust on V10 S tronic models.

Some exotic cars look amazing for a year or two, then appear as caricatures of themselves, pinned to a bygone era. That's not the case with the enduringly appealing Audi R8. Even eight years past the original debut, the 2015 R8 still rubberizes necks and inspires breathless social media posts. And from behind the wheel, it still cashes the check written by those daring looks. Think of the R8 as almost everything that Audi does well -- all-wheel drive, smooth and powerful engines, benchmark interiors -- distilled into one potent pill.

The R8 has some genuine Italian ancestry, sharing certain structural and mechanical elements with the dearly departed Lamborghini Gallardo, and those supercar genes are readily apparent as soon as you hit the open road. Boasting aluminum-intensive construction, with the engine located amidships and the all-wheel-drive system biased toward the rear, the R8 provides the kind of telepathic responsiveness one would expect from a smaller, more elemental sports car. Power flows from a high-revving V8 or V10, the latter sourced from Lamborghini, and the standard transmission is a throwback exposed-gate six-speed manual. For those who want the convenience of an automatic, the dual-clutch automated manual known as S tronic provides lightning-quick, perfectly executed shifts on demand (and better fuel economy to boot). the 2015 Audi R8 shines brightly among exotic cars, including those that cost tens of thousands more. The R8 retains its relevance as dream car of the highest order.

Exterior Highlights
Two-seat midengine exotic supercar available in coupe and Spyder (convertible) body styles, in V8, V10, Coupe-only V10 Plus and V10 Competition, and Spyder-only V10 Carbon trim levels

The 2015 Audi R8 is a two-seat midengine exotic supercar available in Coupe and Spyder (convertible) body styles. The Spyder models are equipped similarly to their Coupe counterparts, but they add a power-operated soft top and a retractable rear window that doubles as a wind deflector. There are five available trim levels: V8, V10, the Coupe-only V10 Plus and V10 Competition, and the Spyder-only V10 Carbon.

Standard equipment on the V8 includes staggered-width 19-inch wheels with summer tires, an adaptive suspension, heated power-folding side mirrors, a speed-activated rear spoiler, cruise control, full LED exterior lighting (headlights, engine compartment and taillights), automatic climate control, a manual tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a trip computer with a lap timer, heated eight-way power seats (with four-way power lumbar support), leather and faux suede upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth phone connection and a seven-speaker sound system with a six-CD changer, an auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio.

Options on the V8 start with a DVD-based (yes, really) navigation system, an iPod interface (which deletes the CD changer) and a 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system. Extended premium leather trim is also available, optionally with diamond stitching and a faux-suede headliner (the latter is also a stand-alone option). A parking system adds front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera. Red brake calipers can be specified unless you want the optional carbon-ceramic brakes, whose calipers only come in gray. The Black Optic package adds titanium-finish 19-inch wheels and blacked-out exterior details (including the exhaust tips).

The V10 trim gets different suspension tuning, different wheels, the parking system and a handful of the V8's optional interior luxuries as standard (premium leather upholstery, faux-suede headliner, navigation and Bang & Olufsen audio). The V10 Carbon (Spyder-only) features a higher-output version of the V10 engine, the ceramic brake package, and carbon-fiber trim on the door sills, engine compartment, spoiler, diffuser and mirror housings. Otherwise, the V10 shares the V8's options list with the exception of an exclusive sport exhaust for S tronic models.

The coupe-only V10 Plus also features the higher-output engine, a front diffuser, the carbon-ceramic brakes and an abundance of carbon-fiber trim pieces. But for further weight savings, it has a smaller fuel tank (19.8 gallons), reverts to the base stereo and deletes the adaptive suspension, heated power-folding mirrors and power seats (though power lumbar is still included). The power seats and upgraded stereo can be added back at extra cost, and the leather upgrades are also offered on V10 Plus, as is the sport exhaust (S tronic only).

The limited-edition R8 Competition (coupe only) offers the highest-output V10 available in the R8 lineup along with several aesthetic exterior trim upgrades that include matte-carbon "sideblades," sport exhaust and the aforementioned red brake calipers.

Finely crafted cabin, top-notch materiald, lightweight and comfortable seats, center stack has an elegant swoop away from driver, optional rearview camera

The R8 has a finely crafted cabin with top-notch materials. The lightweight seats are comfortable for long-distance travel, and the driving position suits a wide range of people -- not a given in this class. We like the center stack's elegant swoop away from the driver. Audi says there's enough room behind the R8 coupe's seats for a pair of golf bags.

The Spyder models' convertible soft top can be operated at speeds up to 31 mph. It takes roughly 20 seconds in either direction to transform. The Spyder's thermal-resistant leather seats effectively lower surface temperature, which is a nice attribute for open-top motoring.

Standard safety equipment includes antilock disc brakes, stability control, side airbags and knee airbags. Front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera are optional with the V8 and standard with the V10.

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