Iron Man's "car" just got pimped up


It's interesting to consider just how much cars have in common with each other. Enthusiasts sneer at the uninitiated who can’t tell the difference between one and another, but even they must acknowledge that sometimes, deep inside, the blueprints are the same.

Consider the all-new Audi R8 V1O Plus—a magnificent machine descending from the same nameplate that Tony Stark drove in the first Iron Man. It’s no doubt a unique car, not lacking in its own character, but this new R8 has a something of a fraternal twin in the Lamborghini Huaracán. They share the same engine, transmission, drivetrain, steering system, and identical carbon fiber bits. They have the same power and torque figures, and can go to racing speeds on about the same time (give or take a few microfractions of a second). The devil, as they say, is in the details.


But the devil would certainly have it: Audi’s new R8 has all the credentials to headline your next fantasy: a monstrous, naturally aspirated 40-valve V10 engine,610 horses under the hood, 560Nm of torque, a beautiful exhaust note, and a body that’s as foxy as they come. Its all-wheel drive ensures that you stay planted on the ground even on the gnarliest twists; the steering and pedals are ultra-responsive and do as they’re told; and its seven-speed dual-clutch transmission revs all the way up to 8,700rpm, allowing the new R8 to go from zero to 100 in a neck-snapping 3.2 seconds. It tops out at 330km/h. It’s also officially the fastest and most powerful production Audi of all time—nirvana on four wheels.

But the best thing about the new R8 (and perhaps what sets it apart from the Huaracán) is that, even on more sedate drives, getting behind the wheel is still a spirited affair. You don’t need to send it howling down a highway to feel that you’re driving a powerful car. “It doesn’t matter how fast you are, it doesn’t matter what gear you’re in. When you accelerate, it moves forward with this enormous energy,” says Audi Driving Experience instructor Christophe Klapper. “This car is also really smooth, it’s not always a beast. It’s not nervous, it’s elegant; you can cruise. But when necessary, it will drive you forward with great force.”

By taking cues from some of Audi’s other nameplates (the A4, and A6, to be precise), the all-new R8 promises a gracefulness in its drive; a kind of suave, confident stride that keeps pace with its brawnier counterparts at high speeds, but edges them out with a smooth composure at low speeds. It certainly looks the part as well: the R8 isn’t quite as flamboyant and conspicuous as its Italian cousin, but it’s just as handsome, even a little easier on the eyes. Altogether, this new R8 is a refined choice for the driver who understands that subtlety never truly precludes power.

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Enrico Miguel Subido
Enrico has four Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature. He enjoys road cycling and playing with his cat, Flow.
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