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How to spend a day with six all-new 2014 Audi R8's

How to spend a day with six all-new 2014 Audi R8's

May 29,2013 - Written by Anthony Marino, Photos by Mo Satarzadeh
What a tough and arduous task, deciding which six Audi R8's to drive in a day's time. Even more important, in which order!? There were hard-top coupes and drop-top Spyders, V8 powered models and those with V10's, ones in cool shades of blue to the warmer hues of orange and red. In the end though, all had the R8 badge on the back, and a price tag far higher than any car in my driveway. Backing up though, sure I've driven the R8 before. I've wrangled both a V8 version and a V10 around my local track of Sears Point, Sonoma Raceway. Today though, I was several hundred miles from home, down in Southern California on unfamiliar roads. On top of that, these were not the same R8's I'd driven before, but rather the "enhanced" 2014 models. These were different circumstances, and these were far different Audis. The team for Audizine on this day was myself, Sean Rivers (AKA: seanriv), and Mo Satarzadeh (AKA: Monizzle). I was doing the majority of the driving and handling live social media for our various Audizine feeds, while Sean was capturing all of the video and did a bit of driving as well, and then Mo was shooting all of the proper still photos you see here. I couldn't ask for a more talented and efficient group. It allowed us to get some truly amazing coverage of the several R8's available to us on this day. We had just an hour of seat time with each car, and we maximized it to the fullest!

Our locale for this press event was also top notch, allowing for both an opportunity to put the cars through their paces in a safe and rewarding manner, while also providing a great backdrop when we wanted to pull over and capture the beauty awarded us. Sure we couldn't push the cars to the limit like we could at a track, with top speed straight line runs and super aggressive stops, but the hilly canyon roads of Malibu are some of the most fun and simultaneously beautiful in all of the country - certainly within California. On top of that, we had the world famous Pacific Coast Highway ("The PCH") at our disposal, so I was able to open the engines up within reason (and the law).



The changes to the 2014 models over previous years are subtle yet welcomed. Noticeable to obsessive Audi nerds like us, but certainly within reason to allow for anyone to spot it as the now iconic R8 from miles away. The most obvious changes are to the headlights and taillights, whose LED daytime running lights have been updated to the smoother looking strip style. Full LED headlights, low and high beam, now being standard on all models. Also changed, but much more subtle, are the side mirrors and front grille. The mirrors are slightly more streamlined, while the grille now adds 45ish degree angles at the top two corners. Another obvious change to the refresh, if you know to look for it, are the large round tailpipes found across the entire line-up. Gone are the dual twin-pipes or ovals denoting the engine types, although black pipes can be had on the V10 Plus model only. More on the "Plus" to come.

Overall the interior layout is the same, but there's a lot more high quality materials used throughout. That means more leather, carbon fiber, polished aluminum, and high gloss black used in places it wasn't found previously. Such locations being the dash, doors, and center console. These are again subtle changes, but welcomed (and dare I say expected) in a car of this caliber and price. Inside you'll also find a slightly thicker contoured steering wheel, with taller shift paddles to be had on S tronic equipped models. Said 7-speed automatic transmission is new to the 2014 R8 and a welcome addition. Also newly available in the new R8 is diamond pattern stitched Nappa leather on the seats and door panels, a la the S6, S7, and S8.


Now that the limited edition R8 GT is gone, Audi has brought us the V10 Plus as the top of the range model. The "Plus" gives us a number of goodies the others don't have, and in some cases it removes (or reduces) things to make the car lighter and better suited for track duty. First off, the additions. You're looking at an extra 25 horsepower over the "regular" V10, bringing it to an even 550hp. The torque is also increased from 391 pound feet to 398. For weight savings, you've got a smaller gas tank, less sound deadening in the engine bay, manual seat controls, optimum use of carbon fiber throughout, as well as ceramic brakes. All of this results in up to 130 pounds of weight reduction over the standard V10 model, and along with the power increase, a shaving of .1 second off the zero to sixty...which Audi rates at 3.7 seconds with the 6-speed manual and 3.3 seconds with the super fast computer-controlled double-clutch S tronic. A few other items only available on the V10 Plus are matte titanium gray front air intakes and rear air exits including the plate surround, a unique rear diffusor, and a new matte finish version of the popular Sepang Blue as an option. Black finish exhaust tips are also a nice touch, one that's optional on the other new R8's as well.

If you've read this far, you may be wondering if all of these minor enhancements I've mentioned add up to any real improvement over the previous R8. Simply put, yes, they sure do. Audi knows when they have a good thing. As I mentioned earlier, they've created an icon, and one doesn't simply overhaul an icon. When you create something that others continue to aspire to be or own, you make subtle improvements that continue to make the great even greater. The new 2014 Audi R8 looks as good and fresh as ever before, and it feels it to the touch as well. Personally, I think it drives better too. It's always been an easy to drive sportscar, one that's extremely forgiving and makes even a mediocre driver feel like a champion. Now though it feels even more connected to the road, and in turn, you connected with it. The new S tronic gearbox is the most stunning part of it all. It's a perfect match for the V8 and V10 alike, giving you sharp yet smooth gear changes up the power band and expertly timed downshifts when coming to a stop. I've longed to own an R8 ever since they hit the scene roughly 7 years ago, and I can honestly say that the longing is now stronger than ever.
  1. The 2014 Audi R8 - Photo by Mo Satarzadeh

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  2. The 2014 Audi R8 - Photo by Mo Satarzadeh

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  3. The 2014 Audi R8 V10 Plus - Photo by Mo Satarzadeh

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  4. The 2014 Audi R8 V8 Spyder - Photo by Mo Satarzadeh

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  5. The 2014 Audi R8 V8 Spyder - Photo by Mo Satarzadeh

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  6. The 2014 Audi R8 V8 Spyder - Photo by Mo Satarzadeh

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  7. The 2014 Audi R8 V8 Spyder - Photo by Mo Satarzadeh

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  8. The 2014 Audi R8 V8 Spyder - Photo by Mo Satarzadeh

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  9. The 2014 Audi R8 V10 Spyder - Photo by Mo Satarzadeh

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  10. The 2014 Audi R8 V10 Spyder - Photo by Mo Satarzadeh

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  11. The 2014 Audi R8 V10 Spyder - Photo by Mo Satarzadeh

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  12. The 2014 Audi R8 V10 Spyder - Photo by Mo Satarzadeh

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  13. The 2014 Audi R8 V10 Spyder - Photo by Mo Satarzadeh

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  14. The 2014 Audi R8 V10 Plus - Photo by Mo Satarzadeh

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  15. The 2014 Audi R8 V10 Plus - Photo by Mo Satarzadeh

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  16. The 2014 Audi R8 V10 Plus - Photo by Mo Satarzadeh

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  17. The 2014 Audi R8 V10 Plus - Photo by Mo Satarzadeh

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  18. The 2014 Audi R8 V10 Plus - Photo by Mo Satarzadeh

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  19. The 2014 Audi R8 V10 Plus - Photo by Mo Satarzadeh

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  20. The 2014 Audi R8 V10 Plus - Photo by Mo Satarzadeh

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  21. The 2014 Audi R8 V10 Plus - Photo by Mo Satarzadeh

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  22. The 2014 Audi R8 V10 Plus - Photo by Mo Satarzadeh

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How to spend a day with six all-new 2014 Audi R8's
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