Audi R8 Buyers Guide

For under $100,000, the Audi R8 offers exotic car ownership experience at a fraction of the cost. Although prices have not dropped too low that you see college kids driving them around, it is reasonable enough for many first time exotic car buyers and is certainly great value as we have found out personally. After having purchased a 2009 Audi R8 V8 R-Tronic and a 2014 R8 V10 S-Tronic, we have started to get to know the Audi R8 quite well. From its typical shortfalls to which models hold value best, we are about to break down for you all you need to know in our Audi R8 buyers guide. This will cover all model years (2008-2014) and both V8 and V10 models (excluding the V10 plus).
Why the Audi R8 makes perfect sense:

When we first got introduced to the R8, we questioned why Audi would put out a product to compete with its bigger sister the Lamborghini Gallardo. We simply couldn’t understand why, especially when they decided to introduce the V10 model in late 2009. It was a puzzle until we owned both the Audi R8 and the Lamborghini LP550 simultaneously. The reality is that the Audi R8 is nothing like the Lamborghini Gallardo, and while it shares some components, the car itself couldn’t be further apart.

The Gallardo is uncomfortable, extremely ballsy, and very focused on performance and design first; while the R8 is about comfort, technology and functionality. Similar platforms but completely different results.

While the R8 in our opinion is a better car all around, there is no substitution for the Lamborghini’s raw sex appeal. Think of the R8 as a Lamborghini in sheeps clothing but a very pretty sheep that is.

The biggest difference in the end which is not subjective to preference unlike the looks and performance is the overall experience behind the steering wheel. The R8 is forgiving, comfortable, and makes you want to get in it everyday, while the Gallardo is bold, over powering, and forces you to get in it. While this may not make a lot of sense, one drive in each will make it very clear.

Regardless that you choose the V8 or V10, you are in for a great experience and one that will make everything else you get in after seem unbalanced. The word balance is the perfect way to describe Audi’s masterpiece. A great balance of power, handling, comfort and good looks.

The Audi R8 market:

Depreciation is king with every single exotic, and if you have been following our system on buying and flipping exotic cars, you could save big on the R8 as well. The only difference is the R8 hasn’t depreciated that much compared to the Gallardo. If you read our Gallardo buyers guide you will know that the Gallardo is extremely attractive because of its quick 50% depreciation over 2 years. While we expected the same from the R8, we were quite surprised to see them holding up really well.

We bought our 2009 Audi R8 V8 R-Tronic well loaded with an original MSRP of $136k, with 3 years of warranty through Audi CPO and only 10K miles for $90,000. It was listed at $104,000 and using our system allowed us to save over $14K. Compare that to the average pricing of the R8 for both 2008-2009 years to be between $80-95K, depending on mileage. Most R8 cars of those years also have about 20K+ miles and are out of warranty. Our 2014 Audi R8 V10 S-Tronic on the other hand with 5K miles with an MSRP of $180,000 was bought at $149,800.

The best buy cars as of today (06/25/14) would be either a 2008-2009 R8 V8 under $90K or 2012 R8 V10 car under $115K. The values have dropped enough and will hold for about a year, while the newer 13-14 cars will continue to drop especially as Audi brings a new 2016 R8 design soon.

While we cant list every little thing they changed, here are some changes you may want to consider when making a smart purchasing decision.

2008-2009 – First production years

2010-2012 – New headlights/taillights

2013-2014 – Improved headlights, small interior tweaks, and standard engine carbon on V10, couture seats available, introduction of S-tronic transmission.

R-Tronic vs S-Tronic

The famous debate about which is best. It goes without saying that the double clutch S-Tronic is far superior to the R-Tronic and clearly a better choice, but since the S-Tronic is only available on the 2014, it doesn’t make the car $40,000 better. The R-Tronic in its stock form is pretty boring, and slow shifting but thanks to the numerous TCU flashes you can make, the problem can be corrected quickly for less than $2K. Once the flash is done, expect lighting fast shifting in Sport mode and even smoother shift pattern in regular mode. The factory R-Tronic is pretty bad, boring, and clunky, so the flash should be a mandatory modification for anyone that is a car enthusiast.

Typical issues with the Audi R8:

While the cars have been pretty solid, we have had two small issues during ownership of our V8 model. We have currently put about 8000 miles within 6 months on the car as a daily driver and outside of basic maintenance, we have had our SPORT button malfunction and fail ($385) and a leaking set of front shocks ($2800) fixed under warranty. We hear that many of the magnetic ride cars (almost all sub 2013 cars) leak from the shocks at about 15K miles. This common issue is covered by the warranty but quite expensive if you are out of one. We recommend inspecting the shocks by lifting the actual boot and looking for any signs of leaks there, even if it looks OK on the surface. Many shocks leak for 5-8K miles before entirely crashing. We have yet to identify any issues with our 2014 V10 but with only 5K miles and limited miles being put on, we don’t have enough data to really gauge the reliability.

Preferred modifications for the Audi R8

1. R-Tronic cars need to get flashed. We used Zeus Flash through German Motoring in Miami. A mere $1800 will change your car drastically. Better and faster shifting, smoother gear transitions and rev match on downshift that rivals the feel of our 2013 LP550.

2. While the R8 already seems very low, it isn’t and the rear actually sticks up quite a bit. In most cases, we wouldn’t recommend lowering the car without improving the wheels but the R8’s OEM wheel options are quite attractive and don’t need wheels (unless you crazy like us). Suspension, on the other hand, does drastically change the handling and improves the look even more. It primarily drops the back of the car. Springs are enough in most cases but please ensure the shop doing the work understands how to handle the R8 suspension sensors which are quite tricky and expensive to fix if broken. We used Wheels Boutique of Miami for a seamless install thanks to their techs hand made tool (due to the fact that he does so many).

3. It may seem expensive to cough up $3000 for just a few pieces of metal but the R8 really comes to life and loses about 60lbs when swapping the factory exhaust for a more favorable design. We couldn’t find one we liked, so we built our own X pipe design, deleting the muffler and adding 6 resonators. You can listen to the sound for yourself below. If you like your cars quiet then the R8’s factory unit is perfect for you as no one will hear you, even at wide open throttle we could barely hear anything from inside the cabin.

Audi support:

We have nothing but bad things to say about Ferrari. Lamborghini does a really good job taking care of their clients, but they don’t offer loaners and typical service compliments that major brands like Lexus do. There is good and bad with Audi service, it all depends on your dealership and how R8 friendly they are. Since the R8 is a super car, and Audi is not a typical super car company, the way you are treated will vary. It’s almost like the GTR and Nissan. So far our experience at Audi of Coral Springs has been immaculate but we have heard horror stories from IL and NY that make us wonder. Exercise caution and ensure good support is available at your local dealer before investing in a warranty, or you might be better off using a great local mechanic who has experience with the platform instead.

We hope you enjoyed our Buyer’s guide for the Audi R8 V8 and V10, and make sure to follow us for more details on our modified R8 V8 which is weeks from completion.

Before you begin your search, make sure you master the tricks dealers use to save up to 80% on your new car through our lessons at Exotic Car Secrets.