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German special Audi R8 V8 & V10 › Porsche GT3 Cup › VW Golf R










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elcome to the first in a series of German car specials of ROAD. Whether it’s their Teutonic efficiency, phenomenal reliability or sheer engineering superiority over most marques, German cars stand out from the masses. And the three cars we have featured in this first German special of ROAD certainly do... First off, there’s the gorgeous, sleek lines and awesome performance of Audi’s mid-engined R8, in V8 and mega V10 form; on test on British roads. Next, we have a story based around the already legendary Porsche GT3, in Cup Car form – with BRDC Rising Star, Porsche Scholarship contender & ROAD friend, Leyton Clarke at the wheel... in his first ever Porsche race, at Silverstone. And finally, blasting around the Lakes, in the snow, up Kirkstone Pass, the fabulous, 4WD VW Golf R. Enjoy it, yah?!


Audi R8 V8

Mid-engined 4.2-litre V8 FSi, offering 420PS at 7,800rpm and 430Nm from 4,500rpm, Quattro all-wheel-drive, 0-60 in 4.6s, 0-124 in 14.9s and 187mph V-max, from ÂŁ79,825. Give it up for the gorgeous R8 V8...


he Audi R8 simply oozes style, design and sophistication. It’s critically-acclaimed, and universally liked. It’s cutting edge, from an engineering, and aesthetical point of view. Porsche must be worried...

The Aquamarine metallic Blue, with Oxygen Silver sideblade and fine nappa leather model you see below you is the ‘lesser’ of two models. It’s the 4.2-litre V8 FSi, available from £79,825 in slick-cog, six-speed manual form, or £84,915 in

optional R tronic sequential shift gearbox form, as this V8 has fitted – complete with ‘shift-by-wire’ technology and joystick or paddle gearshift controls. Underneath the gorgeous lines in either model lies the same amazing

all-aluminium Audi Space Frame chassis and midengined, high-revving (the rev limiter is set at a heady 8,250rpm) 4.2-litre V8, offering 420PS at 7,800rpm, 430Nm at 4,500-6,500rpm and subsequently, stunning performance: 0-62mph in

4.6s, 0-124mph in 14.9s and 187mph top end – with enough Autobahn, or track, to play with, naturally. And all of this grunt is harnessed by Audi’s legendary Quattro four-wheel-drive system. And, thanks to the central mounting of the V8

lump, weight distribution is nigh-on perfect, at 44:56. The aluminium-fest continues with the bodyshell and indeed the suspension; featuring front and rear double wishbones, with either fixed traditional spring and dampers or Audi’s adjust-

able magnetic ride system, first seen in the TT Coupe. The latter utilises a voltage to the magnetorheological damping fluid, altering the damping characteristics at the flick of a button; increasing, or decreasing resistance to roll, to suit the road surface, and drivers’ mood. Given the fat (235mm front, 295mm rear), but incredibly low, 30mm profile tyres fitted to the 19inch twin five-spoke alloys, the magnetic ride system is probably preferable to standard, offering greater control over NVH levels, for when the inevitably gorgeous lady of your life (or ladies, in the case of R8 owners, no doubt) gets in for a run to your hide-out in Monaco. Then you can wind things up, for that track day, or country road hoon, when the mood takes you. And hoon you must, with such a great V8 engine at your disposal. It’s flexibility and revability are sublime... allowing you to either purr along in short-shifting, torque-thrusting efficiency, or put the hammer down, and relish the roar of that

special V8, up and over 8,000rpm... which is a real auditory, speedy treat. Inside the R8, the feeling of superiority continues. You’re cossetted perfectly in those low-slung (watch out for showing off your La Senza lingerie ladies!) nappa leather seats. The dials and switchgear are all in the right place and look, sound and feel as expensive as they undeniable are. Which brings me neatly to my conclusion... The R8 V8 looks, sounds, drives and feels fabulous. It’s faultless really, unless you consider being faultless

as being flawed, or even, dare I say it, a tad dull. If you know what you are doing (and I doubt many R8 owners do, no offence...), you can drive the pants off this car, swinging the tail about, and have a real blast. But few will.... because it costs so darn much. Yes, sure, it may start at £79,825... which is still a lot, but wait until you add some extras, as fitted to this test car: Metallic paint is £2,350. Nappa leather £785, but the ‘Extended leather package’ is a crippling £4,795. Alcatara headlining and door pillars, £1,665. Audi carpet,

£1,270! Magnetic ride’s a snip art £1,320. Sat Nav, £1,760. Carbon Sigma engine bay cover less so, at £2,690... and so on, and so forth. Add it all up on this test car, and what started at £83,890 for a 4.2 V8 with R tronic gearbox becomes £105,860... and that is one hell of a lot of money, even for a car as gorgeous, capable, sexy, stylish and welldesigned/built as this R8 V8 undeniably is. Maybe it’s just me, but, given the choice, I’d rather pick from a load more affordable performance legends. See over...

Audi R8 V10 Mid-engined 5.2-litre V10 FSi, offering 525PS at 8,000rpm and 530Nm at 6,500rpm, Quattro all-wheel-drive, 0-60 in 3.9s, 0-124 in 12s and cracking 196mph V-max, from ÂŁ98,555. Give it up for the monstrous R8 V10...


tarting at £20,000 more than the ‘entrylevel’ 4.2-litre R8 V8 is the 5.2 FSi R8 V10 Quattro. The V10 is inspired by the Le Mans dominating R8 LMS and is identical in largely every way to the R8 V8 manual or R tronic... except for a very special

engine... now a 5,204cc V10, producing a thumping 525PS at a heady 8,000rpm and 530Nm at 6,500rpm, resulting in a 0-62mph dash of just 3.9s, 0-124mph in only 12-seconds and a top speed three miles per hour shy of the magic 200mph barrier. It’s built almost iden-

tically to the engines used to power the R8 LMS in the GT3 class. Hicarumba! Now there’s a pub (sorry, hotel bar) factoid. The V10 engine only adds 31Kg to the R8’s all-ally space frame (taking it to 1,620Kg, offering a 340PS per ton figure), while of-

fering another 100PS and 100Nm, not to mention increased revs, audio and panache; creating a really special sense of occasion. The V10 also comes with the world’s first all-LED head lamps (‘enhancing its visual drama,’ in Audi PRspeak), Audi’s magnetic ride

adaptive damping (£1,320 option on V8) and the 465watt Bang and Olufsen sound system (£1,175 option on V8), as standard... The V10’s accolades continue: It’s the most powerful, highest revving engine in its class, with the highest maximum speed, the

best power to weight ratio, the best acceleration and, slightly more boringly, the lowest depreciation. The V10 also comes with a high gloss finish to the gaping front grille and front air intakes, more prominent side sills, wider cooling vents for the big V10

engine (with the contrasting ‘sideblade’), high gloss rear air outlets, oval exhaust tailpipes to disseminate the mental V10 howl to the world and a new, downforce-inducing rear diffuser. All put together, this delicious recipe is really very, very special indeed. It’s hard to describe, until you drive one against the V8, but the V10 engine is an absolute monstrous delight... transforming a stylish, subtle, gorgeous sports car into the very definition of a supercar. When you get that V10 spinning to over 8,000rpm,

the thrust is phenomenal. It feels truly special. And you know where the extra money over the V8 has gone. The additional weight of the engine (or maybe the V10’s own suspension geometry?) makes the handling more exciting too, over the V8... with a very tail-happy default setting, making it feel much more rear-bias, than Quattroesque. Grip is still extraordinary, but the unreal levels of go from that V10 at full chat put so much strain on the huge rear tyres, that an enormous powerslide is just

a deep prod of the throttle away. Fabulous. This Sepang Blue version I tested against the V8, with similar options and spec (& better manual box), came in at £106,065... less than a grand more than the V8 above. No brainer which one I’d go for... The V10 R8, with its monstrous delight of an engine, superbly mechanical manual gearbox (like the lever of a well-greased, classic .22 rifle), stunning good looks and awesome build quality is a real treat to get behind the wheel of: C21st hero.

Road magazine launches new blog ROAD has created a new blog, starting with a link to all the recent issues – all combined in one, easy-access-venue, for your enjoyment, FREE. Do join in, tell your friends, comment and join the Twitter feed. We want to hear your POV’s...

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VW GOLF R The first snowfalls up on the epic Kirkstone Pass in the Lake District begged for a fun, grippy, nippy hot hatch blast. Luckily, VW have added the all-wheel-drive, 266bhp, 155mph Golf R to its legendary range...


he first snowfalls on the Lake District’s highest pass open to traffic – Kirkstone Pass – was too tempting a road trip not to make... in the right car: The new, 266bhp, 4MOTION VW Golf R. Kirkstone Pass, so named because of the huge rock resembling a church steeple (kirk, in old Norse) nestling by the Patterdale roadside, is a monster of a climb... 1,489-feet (454 metres), and reaching a challenging onein-four gradient at its most steep. Perfect test ground...

At the peak of the A592 Ambleside to Patterdale road (or, better still, via the epic ‘The Struggle’ hillclimb, sorry, road, from Troutbeck), lies England’s third highest pub, The Kirkstone Pass Inn – always a welcome sight for tired horses. Not that the Golf R’s 266 horses needed a break. In fact, the altitude, sweeping slippery road, blind crests, treacherous corners lined by drystone walls and evil cambers seemed to be the perfect environment for the new range-topping,

£30,090 Golf. Here, the R came alive, having been a perfectly sedate, pleasant and comfortable place to be on the boring motorway run to Cumbria; the R’s a true Jekyll and Hyde. The 1984cc four-pot turbo FSi engine is the same as found in the regular Mk6 GTi; breathed upon with uprated (centre twin exit) exhaust and ECU re-map – now up 59bhp, and benefiting from VW’s Haldex 4MOTION system, 18-inch rims and nice, subtle R branding, to distinguish it from its

tle, £6K-cheaper brother. The added grunt is remarkably noticeably, despite the extra 182Kg the 4WD adds (so it weighs 1521Kg). And this is reflected in the 5.7s 0-60mph time (GTI 6.9s), and 155mph V-max (GTi 147mph). Torque is tremendous, with 258lb ft available from just 2,500rpm. And the R’s twolitre turbo wants to rev even more keenly than the GTi – releasing a lovely growl from the new exhaust as it does so... making the blast up and down (and again, and again) the Kirkstone Pass and ‘The Struggle’ a real hoot in the snow. But outright performance is not the real difference between GTi and R. It’s all in the handling balance. That extra weight is mostly distributed over the nowdriven (only when required) rear wheels. And the combination of this extra weight

over the back axle, and rear-drive makes the R a revelation compared to the already-excellent FWD GTi. All weather grip levels are in Impreza and Lancer league, and there’s a real neutrality to the handling balance, inspiring massive confidence: The active back-end moving around aids turn-in no end, allowing you to really punch through and out of the twisties. Steering is very well weighted, and the adaptive damping is superb. All this adds up to a great drivers’ car. It’s fast, frugal & fun... what more do you want? Well, it looks great, not showy. It’s practical. Build quality is remarkable. It sounds perfect: Rorty when you want it, quiet when you don’t. It’s comfortable and well-equipped. And, now you can even have sideways four-wheel-drifts. £30K buys Golf heaven.


For our Golf R trip, we stayed at the Mason’s Arms (; pure pub perfection. Diane and John Taylor took over the pub (owned by six years ago and run it brilliantly. Staff are welcoming and efficient in equal measure. Dave Gribble’s food is local, fresh, wholesome, really tasty, perfectly cooked, and presented. And the range of beers and wines, is breath-taking... all of them crackers. Throw in the incredible atmosphere in the low ceiling, flagstone floor, heart-warming, fire-lit main bar (or upstairs in the light, airy, new restaurant), and the amazingly well-equipped, comfortable and stylish self-catering accommodation (especially the cottages), and you have the recipe for the perfect pub. Call them on 01539568486: You’ll have a perfect mini-break. We do, everytime.


2007 Saxmax Champion, 2008 Dunlop Sport Maxx Champion, BRDC Rising Star, ARDS instructor and now, thanks to his winning inaugural performance in a GT3 Cup... a Porsche Scholarship contender. ROAD meets Leyton Clarke, just 19


first met Leyton Clarke, aka ‘Gonzo,’ aged just 15, at one of his father’s RMA track days. He was driving a Porsche GT3 – flat out, and blindingly well. His track talent was obvious. Since then, the ‘boy wonder’ (as I like to call him, though he’s now 19), has two clubman championship victories to his name – winning the 2007 Saxmax Trophy, and the 2008 Dunlop Sport Maxx Trophy – and has become a BRDC ‘Ris-

ing Star,’ a successful test driver, ARDS instructor and track driving mentor. Now Leyton has aspirations to become a fully fledged racer; ultimately aiming to compete in a works DTM car and enter the American Le Mans Series. Ambitious? Sure. Talented enough...? I’ll let five times Le Mans winner, Derek Bell MBE answer that... “He’s obviously got great potential, and deserves the break.” The break in question to-

day is Leyton’s first ever race in a Porsche; a 997 GT3 Cup Car to be precise, at Silverstone (where he is an ARDS tutor), in front of many members of the British racing fraternity – as his PMC Midlands Trophy (run by Porsche Club Motorsport) race is taking part in front of the Britcar 24-Hour. Oh, and the powers that be in the Porsche Scholarship. No pressure then! But uber-confident and assured Leyton thrives on

pressure – as he proves in qualification; blitzing more powerful Cup RSR’s and R’s, with more experienced drivers, taking pole by some five seconds, in his GT3. The races are spread over two days, with one on Friday and two on Saturday on the 3.1849-mile GP circuit. Friday is a proper wash out, with truly atrocious conditions – far from ideal circumstances for your first race in a hired (Team Parker Racing), 380 bhp Porsche, roadmagazine.

which he’d only previously tested once (“surprisingly, haven driven a lot of Porsches, the Cup car took a lot of getting used to. It was strange and nothing like the road cars; wanting to initially understeer, then getting very oversteery on the exits. 122 laps later, I was on the pace and knackered!”). The heavy rain did not phase Leyton... who annihilated all, winning his first race in the GT3, by over 36 seconds and setting fastest lap (2:21.154)! “Leyton knows his wet lines here really well, which was great, because it was deluge conditions,” said his

proud father, Graham. “I had pole, got a good start and pushed hard on those opening laps to establish a lead, which never got challenged,” said Leyton. One down. Two to go. Race two, in drying, better conditions on Saturday was doubly impressive... with Gonzo winning by over a minute, and again, setting fastest lap, at 2:16.573, averaging 83.95 mph. Race three, in perfectly dry conditions and Leyton was raring to go: “I can’t wait to get out there and make it three from three, with three fastest laps,” he smiled. But, unfortunately, it was

not to be, as the suspension on his GT3 Cup failed while he was leading the race, forcing a DNF. Gutted. But the good work had been done though - three poles, two wins, two fastest laps – and, only a few hours later, he received a call inviting him to join five other hopeful race aces in the Porsche Scholarship. The aim is to win that paidup-drive-place and race in the Carrera Cup in 2011 and 2012, then onto Supercup... and we at ROAD wish him every success. It couldn’t happen to a nicer, faster lad. Visit www.leytonclarke. to sponsor him...


This issue is of ROAD all Germanic... with a road test review on the Audi R8 V8 and V10, Lake District road trip in the VV Golf R 4Motion an...

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