Twice as nice
It’s safe to say that the first-generation Audi R8 was the beginning of a revolution for the German carmaker. The addition of a mid-engined supercar to its model line-up afforded Audi access to a club that includes Ferraris, Porsches and Lamborghinis. Expectations were high, and thankfully, Audi’s first mid-engined production car more than lived up to the hype. It’s a tough act for the second-generation car to follow, and our Car of the Year judges certainly didn’t pull any punches when telling us what they thought of it.
Jes Wong didn’t like its lines, with Ong Seng Gee adding, “it lacks soul". Hoh Han also lamented the R8 is a “head over heart" purchase.
But another way of looking at it would be that the R8 is subtle, a comparative rarity for supercars. One such person taken with the R8 was Edison Lee. He said, “It was a game changer for Audi when it was first launched. It doesn’t give the impression of an irresponsible boy racer. It’s an understated gentleman’s sports car, but because I’m married, I can’t buy it!"
And clearly, if judges appreciated brash sports cars, the R8 wasn’t for them, but if they wanted a supercar with an exceptionally broad remit, equal parts daily commuter and racetrack queen, they’d appreciate the Audi.
That person would be someone like Natalie Kuan, who said, “It’s a great mix of sports car and city car. It was easy to drive and with the selectable drive modes, I could have something really sporty or really quiet."
What most of them could get behind was the V10 engine the R8 comes equipped with. Both Hoh Han and Quah De Ren singled out its powerplant for particular praise.