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11 Best Sports Cars for 2016

11. 2017 AUDI R8

Base price (est): $170,000 R8 V10, $186,000 R8 V10 Plus
Set for a spring 2016 launch, the redesigned R8 blends old-school supercar excitement with new-age supercar design. It looks little different than the 2008-2015 first-generation, despite sharper body creases and a distinctive contrasting-color “side blade” now bisected by the fender line. This midengine two-seat coupe – a convertible returns in a year or so – shares its structure of aluminum and carbon-fiber-reinforced plastics, as well as its powertrains, with the Huracan from Volkswagen-Audi’s Lamborghini division. Where the dagger-shaped Lambo has the personality of an angry bull, the R8 is less exaggerated but hardly less electrifying.

Gone is the 430-horsepower V-8; sole engine at launch is an updated version of the previous-gen V-10, now with fuel-saving stop/start, low-speed coasting, and five-cylinder deactivation. The base R8 V10 model has 540 horsepower, an increase of 15. The V10 Plus gains 60 horses, to 610, and is the fastest production Audi ever: 3.2 seconds 0-60 mph and a top speed of 205 mph. The base R8 is just 0.3 seconds and 4 mph slower. Drivers of both can bask in the glory of 10 naturally aspirated cylinders singing at a 8700 rpm redline – music fast becoming a relic as supercars turn to turbocharging. Alas, the R8 is no longer available with real manual transmission – a 7-speed automatic manual is mandatory – but all again come with Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive. The exquisitely tailored cabin is eminently civil, highlighted by a 12.3-inch instrument-cluster screen with elaborately computed gauge graphics, even full navigation that includes Google satellite mapping.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]carpreview.com