Ok, the gloves are off. We’ve not set ourselves a budget limit for our latest Weekend Wheels suggestion and it’s opened the doors to an absolutely spectacular candidate. Our car for the weekend is a 2021 Audi R8 V10, a machine that’s thrilling, emotive and menacing in equal measures. It’s a proper old-school supercar built to the latest standards, and that’s exactly why we love it. When it comes to making the most of a weekend, an Audi R8 would be hard to top.
It’s all about the engine. For the lucky few that are familiar with the sounds and sensations of Audi’s V10 engine, a motor that doesn’t use turbochargers but rather does things the old-fashioned (but perfectly brilliant) way, they’ll know that it’s an absolute gem. The 5.2-litre engine has 10-cylinders (more than twice that of most cars), which give it a unique, high-pitched warbling tone that’s so distinctive, once you’ve heard it, you’d never misidentify it as anything other than Audi's 540hp masterpiece.
Then there’s the engine’s placement. This is a mid-engined car, which does what it says on the tin and places the V10 middle of the R8. That means it’s right over your shoulder, behind a thin plane of glass, allowing its music and muscle to be projected without hindrance. Because there are no turbochargers to complicate the way it works, the engine responds to the accelerator as if it were connected directly to your synapses. Flex your big toe, the engine note rises and falls in tandem. Man/woman and machine can never feel more in tune.
Placed in the perfect position (for balance and handling) in a car that’s low-slung and aerodynamically-styled to slice through the air, it means this V10-powered supercar can fire forwards at a tremendous rate, and keep up the excitement through the bends, too. This is the rear-wheel drive version of the R8 (there is an all-wheel drive version, too), so it’s 65kg lighter at the front, where no drive equipment is required. The front wheels are there simply to steer, and that has big benefits for handling and steering feel. The car is more nimble and reactive, cohesive with that quick-to-respond engine. Bliss.
When it comes to weekend driving, experiences don’t get much better than this. Sure, the weather’s not great and the roads can be slippy, but the R8 lets you have fun without ever feeling scary or spikey. It’s on your side. And thanks to all of the mechanical drama from that engine, you needn’t wring its neck to feel the excitement. You can flow along a B-road and take enormous amounts of joy from the experience. It’s weekend driving at its best and a fine, fine way to spend £109,500 – and, despite being at the exotic end of our all-digital showroom, the cinch experience is just the same as any other car. It could be outside your front door in as little as one week. V10 and all.