IN 2008, Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark appeared onscreen with the Audi R8, a slick silver supercar that would be the German brand’s first. It pointed forward, with futuristic carbon-fiber sideblades and the first full-LED headlamps on a production car. Yet the R8 was somehow understated. It had no oversize wing and no hard angles—the car for a cooler Iron Man.
Just over 10 years later, Tony Stark has (spoiler alert!) moved on. But the R8 is still alive: faster and sharper than ever with both 2020 models—coupe and Spyder—doing over 200 miles per hour, via a naturally aspirated V10 engine. (The only other V10 on the market is the Lambo Huracán, the R8’s sister car.) A visual facelift adds a meaner honeycomb grille, slick forged-and-milled wheels, and a redesigned rear end.
We took the new R8 on California’s Route 33, a fittingly stealthy stretch of twisting tarmac, and experienced the R8’s revised stability system, tuned for less invasive corrections at the car’s limits. A few hours in its cockpit reveal that there’s a pleasing solidity to the Audi, from the natural curve of its power band, to the comfortable-but-not-too-soft suspension tuning, to the way you can roll over gravel without hearing pings from the under-body. With enough ground clearance to pull into Stark’s driveway (or yours), it’s one of the most livable supercars around. And yeah, the thing can shriek.
Rumors swirl about future R8s going electric with 1,000 hp. That could be fun. But there’s no way it could sound as good.
- MSRP: from $95,900
- Horsepower: 602
- 0–60 in 3.1 sec.
- Torque: 413 lb-ft
- Top speed: 205 mph
- MPG: 16 comb.
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