Quick Spin: 2014 Audi R8 V10 Plus

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Audi, Quick Spins

2014 Audi R8 V10 Plus - front three-quarter view, red
Ignore the naysayers who say the Audi R8 is too refined to be a proper supercar, or that it has begun to show its age – after a few tweaks for the 2014 model year, the automaker’s flagship remains one of my favorite exotics.

Audi has treated all of its R8 models to a host of enhancements for the 2014 model year that include new LED headlights and tail lamps, larger steering wheel-mounted shift paddles, new exhaust finishes, updated alloy wheel designs and fresh exterior colors. However, the most significant news is the arrival of a proper seven-speed S-Tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission (it replaces the six-speed R-Tronic). The rapid-fire gearbox shaves a coupe tenths off the 0-60 sprint and improves fuel economy for both the eight- and ten-cylinder models (thankfully, a traditional six-speed manual is still on the order form).

I recently spent time with the new-for-2014 V10 Plus model, which is only available in a coupe body style. Compared to the standard V10 models, the Plus sheds upwards of 130 pounds thanks to lightweight manual seats (not fitted to my test car), carbon-ceramic brakes, reduced sound bay insulation, a smaller fuel tank and an assortment of carbon-fiber pieces (including side blades, front splitter, rear diffuser and spoiler). But that’s not all, as the V10 Plus also receives a bump in output that pushes its ten-cylinder to an even 550 horsepower.

Driving Notes:

  • My six-foot two-inch frame has always found the R8 Coupe to be very comfortable – a standout in a segment of cramped coupes. The enhanced cabin is nothing short of breathtaking, with beautiful carbon-fiber and aluminum accents, tactile switchgear and a fit-and-finish to rival Rolls-Royce. My Brilliant Red test car was fitted with the optional diamond-stitching full leather package ($6,300) that seems a worthy investment, if just to watch your passenger’s jaws drop when they climbed in.
  • The naturally-aspirated 5.2-liter V10 has been massaged to produce 550 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque, a 25 horsepower increase over the standard V10, which Audi says is good for a 3.3-second sprint to 60 mph (with the help of launch control). Nobody will miss the old, sometimes clunky, single-clutch gearbox. The new dual-clutch unit shifted smoothly during normal driving, yet it eagerly cracked off the gears when driven aggressively (don’t waste your time with the console-mounted shifter, as the wheel-mounted paddles are much easier to use). Power at the low end of the tachometer was plenty strong, but the V10 really came to life once it started vigorously spinning. Run it to the 8,500 rpm redline between each shift, and its screaming audio track will remind you why enthusiasts still appreciate fine, naturally aspirated engines.
  • Zipping through the canyon roads in the mountains above Malibu put the R8 V10 Plus right at home. Its mid-engine handling and balance was exceptional. The damping is fixed to a very firm setting, even though lesser R8 models offer a variable magnetic suspension, but it never felt overly harsh for its role. A low center of gravity and a wide stance provide excellent stability, and the turn-in was quick, accurate and sharp. The massive carbon-ceramic brakes are unflappable – right up there with the world’s best.
  • Audi has engineered the Quattro all-wheel drive system to send upwards 85 percent of the torque to the rear wheels, translating to a rear-bias driving dynamic (override the stability control, and then mash the throttle mid-corner, and the R8 V10 Plus responds with an easily controlled powerside). Floor the accelerator out of the corner, and the front wheels pull the nose around as if it were hooked on a wire.
  • The R8’s strength has always been its ageless styling, comfortable cabin and driving demeanor. As a result of the enhancements, the new V10 Plus is much more feisty than its lesser siblings while exhibiting a performance edge that only increases its appeal.
  • With the spectacular limited-production R8 GT but a memory, this is the new king of Audi’s model range – it wears the crown very well.

2014 Audi R8 V10 Plus originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 22 Jul 2013 15:03:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Saab 9-3 Sport Combi unlikely but awesome Viper V10 transplant recipient

Filed under: Aftermarket, Motorsports, Performance, Wagon, Etc., Europe, Saab, Specialty

Saab 9-3 SportCombi Viper
Saab 9-3 Sport Combi Viper V10 – Click above for image gallery

Of the multiple sacred laws of hot rodding, “Thou shall put big engines in small cars” is by far our favorite. This line of thinking spans cultures and has led to the creation of many a magnificent machine. Machines like this Saab 9-3 Sport Combi with a kicking V10 sourced from the mighty Dodge Viper under its hood. This thing puts a whole new spin on the term “sport wagon.” As you might imagine, shoving a longitudinally mounted lump of American engineering into the engine bay of a small Swedish long roof required significant re-engineering of the 9-3 body structure, including fabricating an entirely new transmission tunnel.

With that big lump situated behind the front axle and a set of stoppers lifted from the big snake as well, we have to imagine that this beast is an absolute terror on the track. Who do we have to bribe for a little seat time? Check out the full build over in Zatzy forums thanks to contributor mrspringer.

Saab 9-3 Sport Combi unlikely but awesome Viper V10 transplant recipient originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 16 May 2011 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Zagato’s “Alfa Romeo” TZ3 Stradale clears its V10 throat

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Videos, Dodge, Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo TZ3 Stradale

Alfa Romeo TZ3 Stradale by Zagato – Click above to watch the video after the jump

When is an Alfa Romeo not an Alfa Romeo? When it’s a Dodge Viper ACR, of course. Okay, so the Zagato TZ3 Stradale may have nothing more tying it to Alfa than the badge on its nose and the name on which it draws, but that’s not about to stop us from loving it.

Details and initial photos of the coachbuilt custom just dropped the other day, revealing the latest in the iconic line of Zagato TZs. And while we were waiting for Zagato to release some additional photos of its newest creation, we got this video instead. Not that we’re complaining, because the ACR-based TZ3 Stradale is all kinds of awesome. But don’t take our word for it – follow the jump to watch the brief video for yourself.

Gallery: Zagato TZ3 Stradale

[Source: autoblog.it]

Continue reading Zagato’s “Alfa Romeo” TZ3 Stradale clears its V10 throat

Zagato’s “Alfa Romeo” TZ3 Stradale clears its V10 throat originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 01 May 2011 20:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Heffner Twin-Turbo Audi R8 V10 pipes up

Filed under: Aftermarket, Coupe, Performance, Videos, Audi

heffner twin-turbo audi r8 v10

Heffner Twin-Turbo Audi R8 V10 – Click above for high-res image gallery

It’s hard to argue with the potency of the Audi R8 5.2 FSI. With it’s 525-horsepower V10 mounted amidships, the Gallardo-based engine is more than enough motivation for mere mortals. However, some folks out there felt slighted by the fact that Audi detuned the Lamborghini-sourced mill for four-ringed application. Enter the folks at Heffner Performance who decieded to rectify the situation by sticking two massive Garrett turbochargers into the R8’s rear-end.

The result? A 725-horsepower twin-turbocharged Teutonic terror that runs from zero to Ludicrous Speed faster than Spaceball One. Oh, and those 725 ponies are measured at the wheels.

Check out Heffner’s work in the gallery below and click past the jump to get a taste of the boosted R8 in action.

Gallery: Heffner Twin-Turbo Audi R8 V10

Heffner Twin-Turbo Audi R8 V10Heffner Twin-Turbo Audi R8 V10Heffner Twin-Turbo Audi R8 V10Heffner Twin-Turbo Audi R8 V10Heffner Twin-Turbo Audi R8 V10

[Source: Heffner Performance]

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Heffner Twin-Turbo Audi R8 V10 pipes up originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 09 Apr 2011 18:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Rossin-Bertin Vorax guns for entry into supercar club with BMW V10 power

Filed under: Convertible, Coupe, Performance, BMW, Misc. Auto Shows, South America

Rossin-Bertin Vorax

Rossin-Bertin Vorax – Click above for image gallery

Wiesmann may have been forced to switch from V10 power to the new twin-turbo V8 for their top-of-the-line MF5, but a Brazilian upstart apparently thinks it can secure an adequate supply of ten-cylinder BMW engines even after they’re discontinued. That’s what’s powering the vehicle you see here.

The Rossin-Bertin Vorax is set to debut at the São Paulo Auto Show later this month. It features a carbon fiber body over an aluminum chassis, cradling the Bavarian ten-pot in two states of trim: naturally aspirated with 570 horsepower, or supercharged with 750. The former is said to be good for a 3.8-second 0-62 mph time and a 205 mph top end. The latter marginally improves the acceleration time to 3.6 despite its 180-horse boost, but supposedly raises the top end to 231 mph. Of course, those figures are likely theoretical, as the vehicle appears to exist only in renderings at the moment.

Bankrolled by meat industry scion Natolino Bertin, Jr. and realized by former General Motors designer Fharys Rossin, the Vorax coupe is targeted to hit the market late 2011 or early 2012. A convertible version is slated to follow a year later, with overall production targeted at 500-1000 units in all and prices hovering around $400k.

Gallery: Rossin-Bertin Vorax

[Sources: Argentina Auto Blog, Carscoop]

Rossin-Bertin Vorax guns for entry into supercar club with BMW V10 power originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 25 Oct 2010 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Wiesmann upgrades all V10 models to twin-turbo V8

Filed under: Convertible, Coupe, Performance, MISC

Wiesmann Coupe prototype

Spy Shots: Wiesmann prototype out for a spin – Click above for high-res image gallery

Wiesmann was in a bit of a pickle when BMW announced it was no longer producing its V10. In addition to the M5 and M6, the high-revving 10 was used to power the Roadster MF5 and GT MF5 and we assumed Wiesmann would make the switch to the new 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine. We were right. What we didn’t guess is that it would be sticking the new mill under the hoods of both the Roadster MF4 and GT MF4. The Wiesmann MF3 will retain its 343 horsepower six-cylinder engine.

No word yet on how much power the twin-turbo will produce when utilized with the MF4, but when stuffed into the engine bay of the MF5 it’s set to produce 555 horsepower, allowing it to run from 0-60 mph in less than four seconds, hit a top speed of 193 mph and become the most powerful Wiesmann ever produced.

Gallery: Spy Shots: Wiesmann Coupe

[Source: Wiesmann]

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Wiesmann upgrades all V10 models to twin-turbo V8 originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 21 Oct 2010 15:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Dodge teases Viper V10-powered 300C

Filed under: Sedan, Performance, Videos, Chrysler, Dodge, Specialty

Chrysler 300C gets Frankensteined with a Viper V10 – Click above to watch video after the jump

Red Letter Dodge, the official Dodge blog, has an oh-so-short clip of a Viper-engined 300C doing a circle in a parking lot. Not a donut, mind you, just an out-and-back. The video itself is rather underwhelming, so don’t say you weren’t warned, but since it comes from an official outlet, we have to imagine that there’ll be something far more compelling soon enough. For now, to get a taste of what a 300C hiding a Viper V10 looks and sounds like, check the vid after the jump.

[Source: Red Letter Dodge]

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Video: Dodge teases Viper V10-powered 300C originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 17 Oct 2010 19:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Rumormill: Lotus Esprit to use LFA V10, V8 in lesser spec

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Paris Motor Show, Lotus, Rumormill, Luxury

Lexus LFA engine

Now this is a rumor. According to the crafty crew at Inside Line, Lotus is set to release details on its planned resurrection of the long-dead Esprit at this year’s Paris Motor Show. Even better? There’s some indication that the top-of-the-line model may pack the same heavenly V10 found in the current Lexus LFA. Oh yes, we’re excited. Inside Line spoke with someone at Lexus who’s cozy with the deal who hinted that the 552-horsepower 10-pot would find its way into the car in order to help it better compete with the likes of Ferrari. That’s right, kids; Lotus is movin’ on up.

There’s also word that lower-rung trims will receive the same 5.0-liter V8 found in the Lexus IS-F. With 416 horsepower, that lump is no slouch. Both engine choices would seem to dovetail with the close partnership we’ve seen between Lotus and Lexus parent company Toyota in the past, and with new Lotus CEO Dany Bahar (formerly of Ferrari) clamoring for ever more powerful, upscale models, all of the puzzle pieces seem to be falling into place.

Still, that’s almost way too much awesome for most manufacturers to handle. Fortunately, the Paris show is just a handful of weeks away, so we should know which parts of this rumor are solid in short order.

[Source: Inside Line]

Rumormill: Lotus Esprit to use LFA V10, V8 in lesser spec originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 27 Aug 2010 16:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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First Drive: 2011 Audi R8 V10 Spyder

Filed under: Convertible, Performance, Audi, First Drive, Luxury

The Idiot’s Guide To Driving Gorgeously Quick

2011 Audi R8 V10 Spyder front view

2011 Audi R8 Spyder – Click above for high-res image gallery

Chas Murphy, until recently the U.S. product manager for Audi’s TT, R8 and RS sports cars, said of the R8 V10 Spyder: “You have to drive the car. It can’t be put into words.” Well, we drove it over the hills and through the woods of the Cleveland (Cali, not Ohio) National Forest, and we can put it into words. Rather, we can put it into one word: unfair.

The ways in which the R8 V10 Spyder is unfair leave us thoroughly taken with this open-air supercar and yet a little melancholy. You see, as good as the R8 V10 Spyder is – and there’s no doubt about that – when you look at it, what you behold is the dumbing down of driving civilization. On the upside, this particular kind of dumb is among the most rewarding, outstanding kinds of idiocy you could ever hope to achieve. Find out what we mean after the jump.

Gallery: 2011 Audi R8 V10 Spyder: First Drive

2011 Audi R8 V10 Spyder2011 Audi R8 V10 Spyder2011 Audi R8 V10 Spyder2011 Audi R8 V10 Spyder2011 Audi R8 V10 Spyder

Photos copyright (C)2010 Jonathon Ramsey / AOL

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First Drive: 2011 Audi R8 V10 Spyder originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 20 Aug 2010 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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