The Audi R8 is a highly regarded sports car that offers an exhilarating driving experience, combining power, precision, sharp lines, and luxury. Audi Sports GmbH (originally named Quattro GmbH) was the manufacturer of the legendary iconic concept car that also became a commercial success.
The Audi R8 was initially designed and constructed in 1999 to participate in Le Mans 24-Hour races to compete with the likes of Lamborghinis and Porsche sleek speedsters. The R8 made automotive history by winning 13 races before launching its street model for the 2007 model year.
This Audi sports car has its exclusively trademarked Quattro permanent all-wheel-drive supercar, with a mid engine design in the center of the car. Other fascinating facts about this exceptionally popular and exotic sports car include –
- The R8 takes 70 employees and 5,000 different parts/pieces to construct and is designed in a 2-door/coupe style.
- The Audi R8 model has a top speed of 201 MPH.
- It takes five seconds for 95 lasers to inspect the car to make sure that more than 200 defined measurements are within 0.1 millimeters of R8’s featured plans.
- The Audi R8 model has the ability to accelerate from 0 - 60 MPH in only 3.2 seconds.
- Audi’s R8 was the first car ever manufactured that included full LED headlights.
- Drivers can select from a regular hardtop or the Spyder – the R8 convertible version, each with a magnetic ride suspension.
As for pricing, the initial prices for the Audi R8 started at around $158,600, while the convertible R8 model started a bit higher at $164,095. As its popularity (and inflation) took hold, the price tag for first and second generation Audi R8 models rose to reflect increasing demand for this sleek machine.
Audi Coupe R8s - By Generation
Production of the R8 street model ended in 2023, but not before impressing some of the most finicky sports car enthusiasts.
The following offers a condensed list of the R8 generational evolution -
Sales Data of Audi Coupe R8s - By Generation
To give some context to the number of Audi R8s that were sold each year, consider the following sales stats for the production years –
- In 2023, Audi sold 631 cars in the United States.
|3,045 cars worldwide.
314 cars in the U.S.
|2,214 cars worldwide. 748 cars in the U.S.
|N/A cars worldwide.
649 cars in the U.S.
|2,500 cars worldwide. 813 cars in the U.S.
|N/A cars worldwide.
581 cars in the U.S.
|2,241 cars worldwide. 802 cars in the U.S.
|2,121 cars worldwide.
574 cars in the U.S.
|3,551 cars worldwide. 1,145 cars in the U.S.
|1,764 cars worldwide
927 cars in the U.S.
|3,485 cars worldwide. 799 cars in the U.S.
|3,179 cars worldwide.
772 cars in the U.S.
|2,101 cars worldwide. 699 cars in the U.S.
|3,688 cars worldwide.
736 cars in the U.S.
|5,656 cars worldwide. 900 cars in the U.S.
|2,074 cars worldwide.
495 cars in the U.S.
|4,125 cars worldwide. 241 cars in the U.S.
Sales for the 2006, technically the first model release year. Audi sold 164 R8 models that year.
Determining the best Audi R8 model can be done in a number of ways. All of the Audi models have powerful, naturally aspirated engines, incredible handling, all-wheel drive, strong brakes, over-the-top tech features, and a design that thrills even the most daring and skilled speedster.
While using empirical data to determine the best Audi R8 models– like using the number of units sold each year – given the recent disrupted pandemic years, this analysis would likely lead to a distorted conclusion. Given this limitation, we have curated a list of the best Audi R8 models based on what makes the R8 special – an exhilarating driving experience, combining power, precision, sharp lines, and luxury
The 10 Best Audi R8 Models of All-Time
10. The 2010 Audi Quattro Coupe - R8 5.2 V10 FSI (Type 42)
The 2010 Audi R8 V10 - Quattro Coup was designed nearly limitless. This tenth-best Audi R8 model has a 5.2-liter V10 engine, and the Quattro all-wheel-drive system is another. The handling of the 2010 R8 coupe was precise and wasn’t exhausting to maneuver for the driver. It's mid engine design placement appeared to offer important weight distribution that improved this beautiful piece of machinery. For the calendar year 2010, Audi sold 3,485 of this Audi Quattro Coup globally, with more than 25% being bought in the United States.
9. The 2012 Audi R8 Spyder (Type 42 - Convertible)
The Audi R8 Spyder was available with a V8 or a V10 engine for those interested in more power. Either way, the convertible version of the R8 is one sexy beast with 420hp and 525hp respectively. The V10 uses the same engine to power the Lamborghini Gallardo, so as a sports supercar, the Audi R8 has a lot to live up to. The R8 Spyder is available with a six-speed manual transmission as well. For 2012, data for the R8 Spyder – combining sales figures for both engines, totaled 2,241 cars across the world, with 802 bought by American consumers.
8. The 2009 Audi R8 Coupe (Type 42)
A few years into production, the original R8 design was offered with a 4.2-liter V8 manual or an automatic 6-speed transmission powered by 420hp. This year’s Audi model was not only powerful but sleek and sexy. The MPG of this incredibly hot car with sharp lines (13 City/18 Highway) is not likely to deter any buyers because, in 2009, the world population of car enthusiasts lined up to buy 2,101, with 699 purchased in the U.S.
7. The 2011 Audi R8 Coupe (Type 42)
The 2011 R8 Coupe provided drivers yet again two choices of mid-engine power - 420 to 525 hp and torque equivalent to 317 to 391 lb.-ft. of torque, depending on engine size). However, 2011 was the year Audi introduced their Spyder’s high-performance convertible version, so the fact that storage was a bit sparse and gas mileage was poor, Audi sold 3,551 units of this R8 model across the world in 2011, with Americans buying 1,145 of these Audi R8 models.
6. 2 The 012 Audi R8 Coupe (Type 42)
The Audi R8 Coupe in 2012 was available with either a V8 engine delivering 420hp or a V10 engine delivering 525hp. If you chose the GT model, the engine was tuned to 560hp, which was used in the Lamborghini Gallardo); however, a six-speed manual transmission was available for the coupe and convertible version. It is noted that the Audi R8 GT was issued as a limited model, and because of this, only 333 were manufactured worldwide. However, in 2012, the Audi R8's first generation coupe sold 2,241 (excluding sales data for the GT model), with 802 bought in the USA.
5. The 2010 Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI Quattro Convertible (Type 42)
The Audi R8 Spyder’s 2010 model year made its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2009. The Audi R8 Spyder Quattro Convertible FIS was met with great anticipation and excitement for those interested in a convertible of this new era of a convertible race car. The 5.2 liter V10 model had 420 hp that it was capable of 317 lb.-ft. torque @ 6.000 rpm. Audi fulfilled 3,485 orders globally, which included the production of both coupes and convertibles. U.S. buyers purchased about 800 that year.
4. The 2011 Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 V10 FSI Quattro Convertible (Type 42)
This model offered an all-wheel drive with a V10 under the hood. With 391 lb.-ft. of torque and 525hp, most race car enthusiasts find it remarkable how well this Audi supercar handles all that power. The convertible can deploy (to open or close) in 19 seconds and can operate up to speeds of 31mph. Like the Lamborghini Gallardo that the Audi R8 shares in common with, the sports car’s rear window operates independently of the convertible. This rear window can be raised six inches when you take the top down and is effective in blocking wind and reducing turbulence. It can be lowered with the top-up as well. As one expects with a V10 engine, no one expects the gas mileage to be listed as a selling feature. Audi had worldwide sales in 2011 of 3,551; as a similar pattern emerges, it is noted that one-third of the R8 models sold were the Spyder version.
3. The 2018 Audi R8 Coupe (Type 4S)
According to Audi, the 2018 R8 Coupe offered a 5.2-liter V10, an engine that offers breathtaking acceleration, an engine that purrs like a sleeping kitten, and an unexpectedly compliant ride. This year’s model was loaded with updates that included an entry-level rear-wheel drive for the RWS model. The interface for smartphone use is standard and permits control of devices through the infotainment system in the car. Every R8 comes well equipped with appointments like a smartphone interface, heated Nappa leather seats, and a Virtual Cockpit digital gauge display that offers space-age navigation. Audi sold 1,764 cars of this R8 model across the world in 2018, with Americans buying 927 of these Audi R8 models.
2. The 2015 Audi R8 Coupe (Type 4S)
It is noted that only the #3 and #2 best Audi R8 models are second-generation models that made it onto the list. The most significant event and change to the Audi R8 in 2015 is that this was the introductory year for the second generation (a.k.a., Type 4S) of Audi R8 models, which kept true to its iconic styling and unusually accessible performance that makes even the most mundane drives a bit exciting. The second generation of these Audi models has proven to be more comfortable to handle, primarily due to significant advancements in technology. Sales for the first year of Audi’s Phase II R8 models around the world were 2,074, with a US sales total of 495 that calendar year.
And finally, the number one Audi R8 model of all time is….
1. The 2006 Audi R8 Coupe(Type 42)
According to many enthusiasts and Jalopnik.com – when it comes to the Audi R8, the original is still the best bet. The original 2006 R8 coupe, with all its first generation splendor, did something challenging – its success and popularity defied explanation and still turns heads even when rolling by or looking for a parking space near your favorite eatery.
Or maybe many prefer the 2006 Audi R8 Coupe because it had a sleek single frame grille, a sporty yet sleek body, and an easy-to-hit sweet spot on the open road. The simplest explanation is likely that it was fun, one of the most anticipated and hottest cars at one time. Maybe it was this race car built for street use that was fast and comfortable at the same time.
Regardless of the reason, the sheer sentimentality of the first production year of the Audi R8 lands in the number one spot on our list of the ten best Audi R8 models of all time. For the 2006 R8 model year, Audi sold only 164 units worldwide, but as noted above, this was the first year, and this model year was not available to consumers in the United States.
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Written by Benjamin Smith
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