By   January 25, 2016

Audi R8

Audi R8

The new Audi R8 is powered by the same V10 engine found in the R8 LMS race car. This is a German supercar that is ready for the track, although many owners will never take it on one. With the Rolex 24 just days away it is fitting that the pricing of the mid-engined performance car has been announced.

Both the R8 V10 and V10 Plus are now priced in the same range as the McLaren 570S and 540C. It also has the Porsche 911 GT3 RS and Turbo S to contend with. That is some pretty stiff competition, so how does the R8 stack up?

Audi R8 V10

At the heart of the Audi R8 V10 is an engine that pumps out 540 horsepower. It was announced that the R8 V10 will start at $162,900. That’s almost the exact same price as the McLaren 540C is expected to to start at and about $10,000 less than the 911 GT3 RS (the standard GT3 starts at $130,400, so we’ll compare the GT3 RS as it is much closer in price).

McLaren 540C

The McLaren 540C is powered by a twin-turbocharged V8 that offers 533 horsepower. So, the Audi has an advantage in this figure, but the 540C offers the more exclusive McLaren nameplate (although this does make getting the car serviced a bit more challenging with fewer authorized retail locations) and you’ll probably get more attention in the British car. From a performance stand point the 540C can sprint from 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds which is the same as the R8 V10 and the top speed is 199 mph for both cars. Overall it is pretty much a draw between the R8 V10 and the 540C. A lot of what it will come down to for people is if they want the additional attention of the McLaren badge or if they want all of the performance and less people constantly trying to take pictures of their car.

Porsche 911 GT3 RS

Against the Porsche 911 GT3 RS the R8 V10 offers 40 more horses with the 911 only offering 500 horsepower. But Porsche always does a bit more with their power and the GT3 RS is quicker to 60 mph with a 0-60 mph time of just 3.1 seconds. The R8 does have a higher top speed with it managing 6 more mph over the 193 mph of the GT3 RS. Styling wise the Audi resembles more of a supercar, but the 911 has classic lines and with its front fender air fends, large rear wing and rear air intakes it doesn’t look like just another Porsche.

If you are one that likes to drive a supercar, but without all the added attention of a Lamborghini, then both of these fit the bill. They will both get some extra attention from car guys, but not so much that it can become annoying. Choosing between the two is tough. The GT3 RS costs about $10,000 more, so the question one has to ask is if 0-60 mph time or top speed is more important. Also, the GT3 RS is a better track machine than the R8 V10, so if you plan a lot of track days then it is likely the better tool. For everyday high performance cruising the R8 V10 may be a little bit easier to live with as it is less focused for the track.

Audi R8 V10 Plus

The Audi R8 V10 is a very nice car, but if you have about $20,000 more to spend on a supercar that puts you in the land of the V10 Plus. Just what does that Plus add? Beside more cost, it gets you a V10 that offers 610 horsepower. The Audi R8 V10 Plus starts at $189,900 which is just barely more than the McLaren 570S which starts at $184,900 and the Porsche 911 Turbo S which has a starting price of $188,100.

Porsche 911 Turbo S

The smallest gap in price is between the R8 V10 Plus and the 911 Turbo S. The two are not even $1,000 different in price and when you are paying over $180,000 that is like a $20 difference on a $30,000 car. The V10 from the R8 offer 30 more horses than the turbocharged flat-six in the 911 at 580 horsepower. The 911 with forced induction is quicker from 0-60 mph with a time of just 2.8 seconds versus 3.2 seconds for the Audi. Top speed is a draw with both cars managing 205 mph.

McLaren 570S

The horsepower power difference is even larger when you compare the McLaren 570S to the V10 Plus. The 570S is down 48 horses at 562. 0-60 mph for the McLaren takes just 3.1 seconds versus 3.2 second for the R8. Top speed of the 570S is down 1 mph at 204 mph when compared to the R8 V10 Plus. As with the 540C the McLaren name plate is more exclusive than Audi, so it will get you a little more attention.

The Verdict

From a pricing and performance stand point (at least on paper) the cars from all three manufactures are pretty close. One may have a slight performance advantage in one area or another, but none clearly walk away as the best of the bunch.

The decision on which to take largely depends on ones perspective of the type of supercar you want. Are you looking to take it to the track often? Then the Porsche 911 GT3 RS is the best choice. If you want to get more attention while driving then the McLarens will get that for you. If you want something just a bit different that will fly under the radar, but that still has supercar good looks, then the Audi R8 V10 or V10 Plus are the best for you. Of course if you want a supercar rocket that has a back seat, the the 911 Turbo S can’t be beat (and it is the quickest to drive within the limits of legal road speeds).

The choice is a tough one, but if you were choosing between one of these awesome machines, which would you choose?