Project Lightning Blade – Audi R8

In our recent buyers guide for the Audi R8, we felt like sharing our understanding of the market on this well balanced car. It only made sense since we appreciate the car to push its limits further by enhancing the few things we didn’t love about it. Believe it or not, the Audi R8 is the first car we have ever owned that looked perfect just as it is from the factory and needed literally nothing. But since we are crazy at Secret Entourage and can’t leave anything stock without adding our own touch to it, Project Lightning Blade project began.
Our car is a 2009 Audi R8 4.2 V8 R-Tronic and came with the following options:

Polished wheels.
Nav Plus
Bang & Olufsen sound
Carbon Fiber Interior
Convenience Package
Cold Weather Package
Jet Blue Metallic Paint
Silver Blade

Before you say why we didn’t do a carbon blade, we will answer that by saying if you follow ANY of our past projects you would know we don’t do anything like what everyone else has done. That said, we picked yet another crazy color and went with it.

We followed modifications in order of flaw. What we mean by this is whatever we felt were the R8s biggest flaws we addressed those first.

The R-Tronic transmission shifted way too slow, which reminded us of our old Lamborghini. The R-tronic is definitely outdated unless you are 80 years old. Its slow, its sluggish, and takes the fun entirely out of the experience. This was nothing that a German Motoring tune can’t fix. The tune turned an old man’s car into lighting fast shift intervals and downshift rev matches that are to die for. We installed it in a matter of seconds and opted to do the ECU as well, even though there is really no need at all for the V8. The ECU/TCU upgrade can be done for $2400 by German Motoring.

While we understand the need to make a practical car, and given the fact that we were going to daily drive this like all our other cars, we felt ok with the fact that Audi decided to silence the exhaust. It became an issue when we put our foot down and nothing happened. Exhaust had to go and no one had an exhaust we liked so we went to 1016 industries and persuaded them to build us a muffler-less x-pipe design with 6 resonators that sounds like heaven. A bit loud but very aggressive and high pitch. The noise gets thumbs up everywhere and matches the aggressive design but also brings out the experience of owning a supercar back to supercar status. While it can be loud on the phone or when trying to hold a conversation, it is worth every penny when your foot hits the floor. Our total cost was less than $2000 and sounds better than any exhaust we had ever heard in person for the V8. For those of you that wonder, we were also able to retain the heat shield to ensure no damage will result from the heat, and the weight savings was significant. Over 60lbs we believe.

There’s nothing wrong with the suspension at all and we fought a long battle with ourselves as to if we wanted to lower the car or not. The car sits perfect on the factory wheels and made it hard to look away from, so lowering it made no sense and still doesn’t unless you are going to upgrade the wheels which would create a gap. In our case, we were going to and decided to take the plunge only to find out no one but Audi was qualified to do the install. Apparently there is sensor on each shock that makes it very hard to swap springs without damaging them. We couldn’t go to Audi due to our warranty and decided to head to Wheels Boutique in Miami which was a success story of ours a while back. They had created a tool that didn’t exist but enabled them to remove the sensors without any damage and were known nationally for their track record. A fairly good install under $600 for springs that cost us $400. The $1000 total did make a significant difference on stock wheels even though we didn’t imagine it would have. The lowered rear end looked perfect.

There was nothing wrong with the beautiful OEM 5 star wheel design and to this date, we still hang on to ours as a spare set as they are truly beautiful for a 19” wheel and a width that leaves no need for spacers either. We really loved the look of concave wheels on other R8s we had seen and wanted to go with a 20″ concave wheel but really wanted to keep the simple lines of the car. Having a unique color also limited our options. We contacted our friends at Modulare Wheels who hooked us up with beautiful set of 20” concaves from their upcoming line. The finish happened to be identical to our last Aston Martin V8 Vantage project car and exclusive to Modulare Wheels. The brushed gunmetal complemented the Jet Blue, the blade, and the black brakes. Total cost was under $7000 for the wheels. The tires we went with were Michelin 325/25/20 for the rear and we are glad we did after testing Toyos and Pirellis which made a significant visual difference. The Michelin’s thickness were perfect to fill the rear wide fenders and despite the cost and hard to come by nature, a $1400 investment for the set was well made.

While there was nothing wrong with the car, nor were any of those mods were needed, you can judge for yourself how impactful those mods were in bringing our V8 to whole new level. More importantly, bringing out the experience of owning an R8 completely to the max. Stay tuned next month as we unveil our other 700HP V12 project car.