The 2012 Audi R8 earns a respectable Total Car Score as one of the few vehicles in this Exotic High Performance segment that you could actually drive on a daily basis.
Audi has done a commendable job with its beautifully styled R8, as is immediately evident by the praise it receives in the automotive press. Unlike most exotics, the R8 is very comfortable to drive. Much of the credit goes to its permanent all-wheel drive, adaptive suspension and good outward visibility.
Critics often complain about the R8's single-clutch automatic transmission, which can be balky and rough at times. There is also a lack of luggage space in both the coupe and convertible, making road trips difficult, and some of the Audi's electronics (e.g., navigation) are beginning to show their age.
Adding a strong kick of performance to the R8 lineup, now in its fifth year of production, Audi has introduced a limited-production GT model for 2012. Using the same V10 as the 5.2 model, with a slight bump in power, it arrives with a slew of track-tuned performance equipment and unique cosmetic touches sure to set it apart. Priced at a premium, the new R8 GT is offered in both coupe and Spyder body styles.
The 2012 Audi R8 is offered in coupe and Spyder (convertible) body styles. Both are two-passenger vehicles. There are six models: 4.2 Quattro, 5.2 Quattro, 4.2 Quattro Spyder, 5.2 Quattro Spyder, GT and GT Spyder. Convertible models feature a power-operated automatic soft top with a heated rear window.
The standard R8 4.2 models are fitted with a naturally-aspirated 4.2-liter V8 rated at 430 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque. Bumping up to the R8 5.2 model will deliver a naturally-aspirated 5.2-liter V10 developing 525 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque. The new-for-2012 GT is equipped with a tuned variant of the 5.2-liter V10 making 560 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque. The 4.2 and 5.2 models are offered with a choice between a traditional gated six-speed manual or Audi's six-speed R tronic (single-clutch automatic). The R tronic gearbox is standard on the GT. All R8 models are equipped with Audi's quattro permanent all-wheel drive system.
Beautifully appointed, all R8 models are configured with leather and Alcantara upholstery, full power accessories, adaptive suspension and Bluetooth phone connectivity. The 5.2 models are fitted with the larger engine, unique cosmetics, different wheel designs and all of the equipment that is optional on the 4.2 model (see below). The R8 GT is built for the enthusiast, with sport bucket seats and a no-nonsense interior with minimal creature comforts — a compromise for performance.
One major option group for the 4.2 is the Convenience package (front and rear parking sensors, hill-start assist and power-folding mirrors). Stand-alone options include carbon-ceramic brakes, LED headlights, iPod interface, navigation and a 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system.
The EPA rates the fuel economy of the 2012 Audi R8 4.2 coupe and Spyder (with the six-speed automatic) at 13 mpg city, 21 mpg highway and 16 mpg combined, while the more powerful Audi R8 5.2 coupe and Spyder (also with the six-speed automatic) earns 13/19/15. Manual transmission versions of both lose 1 mpg in each of the ratings cycles.
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