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.