I was promised a test drive and today I got one!
I didn't see the car pull into my driveway........I heard it arrive!! What a beautiful sound
Pretty obvious I'm going to compare this R8 V10 to the Porsche 997 Turbo.
The R8 has an immediate presence as I'm sure many of you will know and that continues when you enter the cabin, effortlessly as well I have to say for a sports car. All the dials are nicely placed and fit well, very well. The whole ambience within the cabin is one of being light and airy with good visibility and a feeling of quality. It was also very straight forward finding an ideal driving position, the pedals are placed perfectly imo.
Turn the key and the senses are immediately bathed in a wonderful deep throaty rumble from the 5.2 litre V10 Lambo engine. Engage first gear and let the clutch out (bites at the end) and away. I immediately noticed this car has heavyish steering as I began to turn the wheel for the first time - spot on and just how it should be, very similar to the Porsche T. This I thought is a nice taste of things to come.
I'd already planned my route along some of East Yorks. finest and empty roads and despite the damp conditions at least the rain had stopped for now. Two miles from home and I'm on country roads and immediately notice that this car feels and is very planted on the road, it sits so flat through the bends and the grip is very impressive. The power delivery is linear and you feel you are being pushed in your seat as the revs increase, this opposed to the Porka T's shove in the back - very different power delivery and easier to 'control' perhaps. After a few minutes I'm getting used to this car and start to take in more of it. The gearbox is slick and smooth, the brakes are superb and the car brakes square and true even from three figure speeds, all very civilised actually but not boring by any means, that sound track alone together with the feedback from the steering is a pleasure in itself.
Onto a fast country road that is not smooth but not too uneven and one I drove along many times in the Porsche at three figure speeds.Time to see how the R8 V10 deals with this surface, bends and attainable speeds. Simple answer very well indeed actually. The steering on the R8 at higher speeds remains nicely weighted and the car does not shake it's head protesting nor moves from the line to which you are travelling, but and it's a small but, this is where there is a difference between the two cars. The Porsche steering is as weighty but there is more movement going on, more talking to the driver through the steering wheel, this movement some may find disconcerting but the car is not going anywhere, in fact it is only going where you point it! The R8 steering at these speeds on these roads was more controlling of the driver and the overall experience I felt. Basically you drive the Porsche more, is a bit more involving and requires more involvement to drive. Minor points perhaps in the grand scheme of things.
I purposefully kept the R8 in sports mode to compare to the Porsche Turbo and the R8 is far less jiggly have to say and would score an advantage here tbh. The Porsche in sports chrono mode would shake the fillings on anything but an even, smooth surface but then you can knock that off and just keep the extra turbo boost, throttle response and the 'masculine' behaviour of the car on normal suspension settings.
As for comparing power hmmm 5.2 ltr V10 producing 518 bhp @ 6000 rpm, 530 NM @ 6,500 rpm as opposed to 3.6 ltr twin turbo producing 480 bhp @ 6000 rpm, 620 NM @ 1,950 rpm 133 bhp per ltr actually. Obviously the new Generation II Turbo is now out and power is different.
Note the torque figures guys 'cos when driving both these cars this is what you DO notice almost immediately. The Porsches max torque is produced so low down the rev range it makes it such an impressive flexible engine in every gear. The R8 has some impressive torque though for a N/A engine and there's plenty there even at low revs but head to head you would need to spin the engine more in the R8 but once you do, I'm confident there 'aint going to be much in it, if at all. The R8 kicks nicely at 5000 rpm and gives an almighty roar just to egg you on further.
The car I drove had only 300 miles or so on the engine and I reckon there's more to come out of it once fully bedded in. But overall, a very, very nice car that is extremely capable of transporting you effortlessly and comfortably across many roads.............but not in a boring manner at all, the R8 is rewarding and bloody enjoyable to drive. Well impressed.