When it comes to the world’s most expensive and fastest high performance cars, it is not uncommon for me to first test them on a race course – a place where many people who spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy such cars never go.
Later, I test them for daily driving on public roads. It’s an adrenaline downshift from the track, but one that keeps blue lights out of the rearview mirror and also answers the question: Is this kind of car suitable for everyday use?
After finishing up with today’s test model, the 2008 Audi R8 quattro, the answer is a resounding yes – as long as you’re not trying to haul lumber or a family of seven’s groceries for the week, or even a family of more than two.
On the race course outside Washington, D.C., recently, the R8 was incredibly fast, perfectly centered, and steered as responsively as any car I’ve driven. Its mid-engine build gives it a far different feel from my other favorite everyday high-performance driver, the 2008 Porsche Twin Turbo all-wheel-drive.
The Audi has an Italian-style smoothness while the Porsche exhibits a proper, taut feel. Not that either is bad – the two cars just have different automotive personalities.
The R8’s Italian feel comes from its close engineering ties to the Lamborghini Gallardo (Audi owns Lamborghini). So while Audi tries to compete with Porsche and Ferrari, it will have to keep its two thoroughbreds from kicking each other on the backstretch. But this certainly has a silkier ride than the lurching and powerful Gallardo.
Source: Boston, picture by Audi