Our first experience with the R8-Audi’s first supercar-was, in a word, exhilarating!  We loved its flash, power, and speed.  But, as impressive as the original V8, R8 4.2 is, we knew Audi was just getting started.  Now it’s time to turn up our enthusiasm even further with the V10-powered R8 5.2. It looks imposing, but we’re up to it.

Like the 4.2 V8 R8, the mind-blowing, mid-engined, 2010 Audi R8 5.2 FSI quattro is built under the same roof as its Lamborghini kin, the Gallardo.  But unlike the 4.2 R8, the 5.2 is more of a true Ferrari-fighter, equipped with the same, if slightly detuned, V10 found in the Lambo.

This dry sump 5.2-liter direct-injection V10 is responsible for 525 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque. That’s an upshot of 105 horses and 74 pound-feet over the V8, and it even outguns the Ferrari F430 Scuderia. All this output is still managed by one of two transmissions: either our tester’s 6-speed manual, or an available R-tronic sequential shift gearbox with launch control.

Power relegates to all four wheels via Audi’s advanced quattro system.  The rear-biased R8 utilizes a viscous coupling to put up to 30 percent of the power to the front wheels.

On the track, our V10 hurled us from 0 to 60 in a blistering 3.9 seconds-better than a ½ second faster than our previous R8 test. The quarter mile was a full second better, clocking 12.2 seconds at 120 miles per hour. 

Performance can be described in two surprising words:  Sweet and smooth.  The R8 rockets forward in an unbelievably refined manner. And despite 10 cylinders, the exhaust sings a beautiful tune. There was a little bit of clutch slippage at take off, but no issue after that. The gear shifter looks somewhat cumbersome, but it’s not. Just be gentle with it and it works flawlessly.

And it’s a dream to drive on the street, where the hill hold feature came in very handy. The R8 V10 uses the same forged aluminum double wishbone suspension as the V8, but it’s been retuned for higher performance.  Magnetic adaptive shocks are standard, and the R8 rides on 5-spoke 19-inch alloys with 235/35 tires front, and wider 295/30’s rear.

Both track and street handling are spot-on. If there was any doubt that the extra power would overwhelm, think again. There’s no oversteer, no understeer, and zero body roll.  Steering is quick and precise with perfect feedback.  We simply could not find any shortcomings here.

Clamping down, the 8-piston front, 4-piston rear ABS disc brakes brings the V10 down in a short 111 feet from 60 to 0.  The pedal was nice and firm with short travel.  We did detect a slight bit of fade after a half dozen runs, but that’s it. 

The R8 5.2 is also blessed with the same gorgeous exterior design as the 4.2, but with a handful of appropriate upgrades. Its dynamic front-end sports a single-frame high gloss black grill with chrome slats flanked by a full LED headlamp assembly as standard equipment. This lighting element is optional on the 4.2.

The R8 V10 exclusively uses larger sideblade air inlets-which are now carbon fiber, more flared rocker panels, a bigger rear diffuser, a retractable spoiler that also comes in special high gloss black and oval-shaped exhaust pipes down below; all of this to give the R8 V10 a more exclusive visual presence.

Within, expect the same upscale-performance Audi interior we first loved in the R8 4.2.  However, the 5.2 does enjoy its own specific instrument cluster, shift knob, and door handles.

Splashes of carbon fiber on the door add to the R8’s interior appeal. The perfectly contoured sport seats offer extras such as heat and soft Nappa leather.

And available goodies such as Navigation, a back-up camera, and a premium Bang & Olufsen 465-watt sound system round out this high brow cabin.

As before, cargo room is limited to a sliver of space behind the seats and a small compartment under the front cover, just enough for a couple of overnight bags.

Government Fuel Economy ratings for our R8 5.2 manual are 12 city/20 highway on premium fuel.  We achieved 18 miles per gallon in real world driving.

Base pricing for the R8 5.2 begins at a lofty $150,200 with the 6-speed manual.  The R-tronic bumps up the sticker to $158,400. The first R8 laid down Audi’s own formula for what a supercar should be.  It was far more than just a re-engineered Lamborghini, and it blew us away with its performance-luxury attributes.  Now the V10, quicker and even more exclusive. It is a German exotic with an Italian heart. And we’re blown away all over again.


  • Engine: Sump 5.2-Liter Direct-injection V10
  • Horsepower: 525
  • Torque: 391 Lb Feet
  • 0-60 MPH: 3.9 Seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 12.2 Seconds @ 120 MPH
  • 60-0 MPH: 111 Feet
  • EPA: 12 MPG City/ 20 MPG Highway
  • Mixed Loop: 18.0 MPG