It may not exactly be a surprise that the newest Audi R8 V10 Performance is the quickest of the bunch, but you may be taken aback by just how much progress has been made. Since the Audi R8 made its debut in 2006, it’s become a much more focused machine. It’s tossed aside the sedan-sourced V8 for a big V10, and ditched the shift-it-yourself gearbox for a flappy paddle fast shifter. Speed is its ultimate goal.
Carwow wanted to find out just how much quicker a new V10 Performance is over the old first-gen R8 V8 with a gated manual. While you’re at it, may as well throw in a pair of facelifted first gen models as well for good measure.
Those early V8 manual R8s have been a favorite of mine since the start. Back in 2006, those first R8s may as well have been space ships, they looked so different to anything else on the road. The aggro good looks melded well with soft body lines and a striking carbon “blade” jutting up behind the door. Damn fine car, that. And the shifter is just so good. It’s not the quickest, but it’s the one I’d take home from this particular dance.
The first-gen model doesn’t have carbon ceramic brakes, or V10 power, or the quick shifts of a dual clutch, or the grip of massive wide tires. None of that matters, it’s still the most fun to drive as it requires input from the driver to make it work properly. There’s a real treat to getting a corner right or rowing up the gear shifts.
I find it hilarious that “the slow one” in this battle still runs a 12-second quarter mile.