Performance never takes a back seat in the 2020 Audi R8—there isn’t one.
The two-door coupe or convertible returns for 2020 after a yearlong hiatus. It’s mildly updated this year with a new nose and slightly more powerful engine that pushes the mid-engine supercar to more than 200 mph with a long enough runway.
It earns a 6.6 TCC Rating based on its breathtaking shape and performance. Fuel economy and practicality aren’t specialties for the 2020 R8, and so what. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
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The R8 coupe costs at least $170,000 and convertibles ask at least $197,000. R8 Performance versions bump horsepower for a pretty penny: at least $183,000 for the coupe and $209,000 for the convertible. All R8s are equipped with all-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive models went as fast as they came in 2018.
Style and performance
The updated 2020 Audi R8 isn’t a striking shift for the dramatic supercar. All the elements that made the R8 stand out on the road are there: mid-engine design, side intakes, low profile, two doors.
Audi updated the R8’s nose with a honeycomb grille and lateral intakes. The body-colored nose now forms fangs that drop low to the ground in a menacing look for the R8 upon arrival.
Contrasting trim along the body sides harken to the last R8’s side strakes—always a great look—and the back end features a new rear diffuser.
The coupe and convertible are similarly styled, the top-less version just features a longer deck from passengers to tail.
Inside, the R8 is mostly identical with seats for two, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster that doubles as the infotainment display, and leather and synthetic suede on everything. Two new shades of leather highlight the interior changes.
Under the hood—at least, the one behind your head—is a 5.2-liter V-10 massaged up to 562 horsepower, which is 30 more than the 2018 version. It’s paired to a decisive and quick-shifting 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that powers all four wheels. Audi says base coupes or convertibles spring to 60 mph in 3.4 or 3.5 seconds, respectively and top out at more than 200 mph.
Audi R8 Performance models say what they do right there on the box. Those versions spin out 602 hp from their 5.2-liter V-10s, and launch from 0-60 mph in 3.2 or 3.3 seconds in coupe or convertible form. R8 Performance models will reach 205 mph if your courage and runway are long enough—please have plenty of both.
Thanks to a standard all-wheel-drive system, the R8 is surefooted in corners and planted. Audi’s clinical approach to performance makes the R8 feel less of a wild child compared to other V-10-powered exotics. The R8 is progressive with its power and performance, the tail end gathers itself nicely around corners without punishing first-time mid-engine supercar drivers.
Standard adaptive dampers on base R8s filter out some road imperfections on long hauls in the base R8, while R8 Performance models swap in a standard sport suspension. We haven’t yet driven these versions but will report back once we do. R8 Performance versions also sub in carbon-fiber sway bars for bragging rights in the parking lot once the drive is done.
Comfort, safety, and features
The R8 is comfortable for two adults, just be sure to pack light. The R8’s cargo area up front is limited to less than 4 cubic feet, which is about enough for a backpack.
The seats are power-adjustable and shod in high-quality leather and grippy synthetic suede. The view out of the front is unencumbered by an infotainment display—the driver’s instrument cluster handles it all—and the R8 is very sleepy compared to other six-figure supercars.
The wheelbase measures 104.3 inches, and the R8’s fairly compact at 174.4 inches from nose to tail; shorter than a Toyota Corolla sedan.
Because the 2020 R8 costs about 10 times more than a Corolla, it’s never been crash-tested and that’s not likely to ever change. The R8 skips automatic emergency braking or Audi’s driver-assistance features, which is a testament to the supercar’s aging platform underneath.
Every R8 is equipped with leather upholstery, 19-inch wheels, a 12.3-inch driver information display, navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility software, Bluetooth connectivity, and a wireless phone charger.
Options for the R8 include carbon-ceramic brakes, premium audio, laser headlights, and red brake calipers.
With its 5.2-liter V-10, the R8 doesn’t prioritize fuel efficiency. The EPA rates it a 13 mpg city, 20 highway, 16 combined in coupe or convertible form.