The 2009 Audi R8 is a mid-engine, exotic sports car designed to compete with the likes of the Porsche 911 GT3, the Chevy Corvette Z06 and the BMW M3. Based on the Lamborghini Gallardo platform, the R8 is priced far beyond its competition, coming in at well over $100,000. The 2009 Audi R8 receives only one upgrade for the new model year, a six-disc CD changer. All other elements, including body style, trim levels, engine and transmission specs remain the same as for the previous model year.
The R8 offers a single engine choice for drivers, with two choices of transmission. The 4.2-liter V8 puts out 420 horsepower and integrates all-wheel drive for better handling capabilities. The R tronic manual transmission does not live up to expectations, though. However, the vehicle does not offer the same power and speed as its competition, making it far more expensive, yet far slower, than the likes of the aforementioned Porsche 911 GT3. The R8 does make up for the lack of power in handling and driving comfort, though. The performance and driving capabilities make this a capable daily driver, rather than a vehicle to be relegated to weekend use or special occasions.
While the R8 is only available in one trim level, several upgrades are available, such as the Bang & Olufsen stereo, the carbon fiber exterior panels and a navigation system, as well as upgraded leather upholstery.
2009 Audi R8 Performance
The Audi R8 is capable of delivering 0 - 60 speeds in the area of 4 seconds, though other cars can manage it in slightly less time. The addition of the R tronic transmission (over the 6-speed manual) increases that time to almost 5 seconds, though. In short, the R8 is a capable car, simply outclassed in terms of price and performance when compared to other models available.
Driving the R8 is similar to driving any other exotic sports car. The suspension is extremely stiff, allowing every bump and pebble in the road to come through to the cabin. In addition, road noise is considerable at all speeds (more so than other Audi models). Very little wind noise is produced during driving, as well.
However, the area in which the R8 truly shines is in cornering and handling on back roads. The all-wheel drive system holds the road far better than anything in its class, with no body lean during tight turns.
2009 Audi R8 Interior
The interior of the R8 is what you would expect of a high-end Audi offering. The dash is elegantly designed and crafted of high-quality components. However, the hard plastic center console and the emergency brake handle are two substandard areas that drivers will notice right away. The flat-bottomed steering wheel is a nice touch, though some drivers may find it awkward.
Controls are integrated nicely into the dash, though the swooping design of the center area forces the driver to lean forward to adjust some controls, taking their eyes off the road in the process. The visibility in all directions is surprisingly good, as well. However, the steering wheel may not telescope far enough for tall drivers to be comfortable behind the wheel.
The seats are designed for comfort and support and the front offers ample leg and headroom for all but the tallest drivers. Some controls have been placed below their normal center location, making them more difficult to get to for all drivers.
Where the R8 truly suffers is in the area of interior room. The space behind the front seats was designed to hold golf bags (or other somewhat bulky items), but offers little usable space. The trunk is designed poorly, providing almost no usable storage room, other than for small, single items.
2009 Audi R8 Safety
The 2009 Audi R8 incorporates a considerable number of safety features. All safety features are standard and include 4-wheel antilock disc brakes, stability control systems, a passenger airbag, driver airbag, side airbags and even airbags designed for knee protection. The traction control system adds additional stability on all surfaces, while the antitheft system helps protect the car when the driver is not in it. The R8 has not been NHTSA tested for safety.
The R8 is a sexy, low-slung vehicle that offers power and performance. For those seeking a capable mid-engine exotic sports car, the R8 is an excellent choice, though there are several other models that offer better acceleration. However, the vehicle's handling capabilities are tremendous. Opt for the 6-speed manual, rather than the R tronic transmission, though, if you truly want better performance.