Motoring News

2021 Audi R8: Still the most beautiful car on the planet

  • First units of Audi sport range reach South Africa
  • VIP customer deliveries have already started
  • Sharper visual updates for Coupé and Spyder

CAPE TOWN, South Africa – No other Audi is closer to motor racing than the R8, the fastest volume model among the Audi Sport brand that’s created as a high-performance sport car in Coupé and Spyder guise.

Customer deliveries of the Audi R8 V10 performance quattro (all-wheel drive) have started in South Africa as part of a pre-launch event ahead of the official retail launch booked for April 1 2021.

A V10, non-turbo, 5.2-litre, engine capable of 440kW/560Nm can hurl the Coupe version to 100km/h in 3.2sec, the Spyder a tenth slower, and the action will howl on to 329km/h as the  R8 sport exhaust system joins in the action.

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2021 AUDI R8. Image: Supplied

The transmission passes through a seven-speed S tronic gearbox and the steering response, Audi says, is direct and precise throughout the performance speed range while the dynamic steering uses what Audi calls a ”superposition” gear to change the gear ratio between 10.5:1 and 15.8:1 depending on the road speed.

Steering is described by the automaker as ”very direct during maneuvering, calm and smooth on a highway” and, in Performance mode available from 140km/h, the driving characteristic is on a considerably more direct level than the alternative Comfort or Auto modes.

Three more programs – dry, wet, or snow – are included in Performance mode: they cut in according to the friction coefficient of the road.

These facelifted Audi R8 units will have standard 20” Audi Sport Evo design wheel rims with a choice of two colours – titanium (standard) or matte bronze. Black 20” five-double spoke alloys are available.

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2021 AUDI R8. Image: Supplied

Ceramic brakes with red calipers are standard and the optional stabiliser on the front axle is made of carbon fibre-reinforced polymer (CFRP) and aluminium.

Daylight running headlights and associated design elements are, Audi says, made sharper by winglets and the large air intakes and flat slits above the Singleframe radiator grille are intended to remind of the Audi Sport quattro.

The revised front splitter is wider and the air inlet grille spans the entire width of the rear end. The diffuser is said to be even more dominant and frames new oval exhaust tailpipes. 

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2021 AUDI R8. Image: Supplied

An available gloss black styling package can be ordered to add a sporty exterior look while the front splitter, sills and diffuser have black accents. The Audi rings and badges on the shell are also gloss black to match the standard carbon-fibre exterior mirror housings.


An Audi exclusive program allows buyers to have any paint colours blended according to their wishes. There are three colours for the fabric top of the Spyder convertible (black, red, brown). Diode head- and rear lights are other options.

The latest Audi also has changes to the cabin furnishing. New options include the Nappa leather, diamond-stitched sport seats in a choice of red, white, or black.

The driver is said to sit in the new R8 like in a race car. ”The entire operating concept,” Audi says, ”is focused on the driver who can operate all key functions without lifting either hand off the steering-wheel or eyes off the road.

READ MORE Audi features on Carman’s Corner

”The R8 performance multifunction steering-wheel ”plus” integrates three satellite buttons in addition to its push-buttons. One is used to start/stop the engine, the second to select basic modes of Audi drive select, the third for the performance programs.

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2021 AUDI R8. Image: Supplied

”Two standard but high-tech modules are in one unit: Information from the satnav is shown in the revised Audi virtual cockpit. It has a 31cm display and the driver can use the “View” button on the steering-wheel to switch views.

”The performance screen is dominated by a large tachometer. Different gauges can be positioned around it, such as, torque, G-forces, lap times, engine and transmission oil temperatures, tyre pressure and temperature.”

It’s all handled through what Audi calls ”a flat menu structure that is easy to understand” though there is a voice control system understands many everyday phrases so the driver can control almost all functions via the steering-wheel.

Other standard equipment includes a rear camera, power folding external mirrors, comfort key, parking assistance, heatable sport seats, and a ”tyre mobility” kit with a tyre-pressure monitoring system.

Let your local Audi salesmanpersonlady explain the rest…

By now you’re probably wondering if you can afford one of the most beautiful performance cars on the planet… the cars will officially be available from (is this a good idea?) from All Fools’ Day (April 1). Here are the basic prices, South African taxes and a five-year Audi Freeway plan included (take a deep breath…): 


Audi R8 Coupé V10 performance quattro – R3 336 000

Audi R8 Spyder V10 performance quattro – R3 592 500

2021 AUDI R8. Image: Supplied

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