Just because the 2011 Audi R8 shares some of its core equipment with the Lamborghini Gallardo is no reason to look past the newcomer to the supercar ball. It offers a unique look, all the sensual, stimulating features you expect from a moving work of art, and the wide-open performance (in V-10 trim) you're really looking for. MotorAuthority appreciates what the R8 brings to the party and rates it 9 out of 10.
Mid-engined, available with a 5.2-liter V-10 engine good for 525 horsepower and 3.7-seconds to 60 mph, with drop-dead gorgeous looks that don't channel anything else on the market--what's not to love about the R8? There are a few things, but they're minimal. We'll get to those in a minute.
The base engine option, a 4.2-liter V-8 rated at 420 horsepower, is still good for 4.4 seconds to 60, with your choice of either a six-speed manual or an R-tronic automated manual--no speed penalty for either. It carries on to 187 mph. The 2011 R8 V-10 is good for almost 200 mph in top speed, unless you opt for the spyder variant, which adds 0.3 seconds to the 60-mph time, too--but adds the thrill of hearing the V-10 wail with nothing between your ears and its sweet song.
If we had to pick between the manual and the R-tronic transmissions, we'd go for the R-tronic, which puts the business end on paddles near the steering wheel, and makes it easier to focus on wringing out every last bit of traction and line when railing the track. With standard quattro all-wheel drive, the R8 has plenty of grip, too.
Now for those tiny issues: the manual shifter's throws are a bit too long, despite feeling good once you get there; the optional carbon ceramic brakes are pricey; and those carbon brakes can be a bit touchy in daily duty.
Inside, the 2011 R8 is a comfortable, high-tech, fully modern environment. Its German-ness isn't quite overwhelming, but it's certainly assertive: you won't forget you're driving an Audi. For all of its technical and technological prowess, the R8 also manages to be rather comfortable for the two passengers it holds, but it could use a little more space in the cabin for storing small items in ways that won't see them dacing around the floorboards at the first hard turn.
All in all, the 2011 Audi R8 is a very impressive piece of machinery. To see exactly why, read the full review at TheCarConnection.