First-Generation Audi R8: A Surprisingly Affordable Super Car

Owning a supercar has probably crossed everyone’s mind at least once in their lives. Whether it’s the exotic look, the extreme amounts of horsepower, or the prestigious feeling that comes with driving a car that costs over $100,000, the thrill of being able to drive a supercar every day might typically seem like a pipe dream to most of us. Until now.

The first-generation Audi R8 is now more affordable than it ever has been and you too can feel like Tony Stark every day for a much lower entry price than ever before.

About the R8

The first generation of the Audi R8 was actually from 2008-2014, as the R8 received a mild refresh in 2012, and underwent a major refresh in 2015. When the R8 debuted in 2008, it came equipped with a 4.2-liter, 420-horsepower V8 engine that was mid-mounted and connected to either a 7-speed R Tronic automatic transmission or a six-speed manual transmission that routed power to all four wheels. This powertrain combination was good for 0-60 times of about 4.4 seconds.

While that might not seem too quick in terms of super-car stats today, it was blisteringly quick 12 years ago. On top of that, the beauty of the R8 wasn’t just it’s unique and sleek design or its performance stats, but the main highlight was that it was a super car that could be driven comfortably every day.

Sitting in the driver’s seat of an Audi R8, you’ll notice that it feels more spacious than it looks from the outside. Visibility is akin to any regular coupe thanks to its large windows and, according to a Motor Trend review, the R8 is “effortless to drive” and “the ride is excellent for a mid-engine sports car on low-profile tires.”

The Audi R8 is a car with two personalities: it’s a grocery-getter by day, and a celebrity by night. Meaning that you can use it to run all your errands, because it really is that easy to drive, and then pull up to the valet of the fanciest restaurant in town while feeling like a million bucks. Even though you only spent a fraction of that.

Scant storage

We know what you’re thinking; there’s not enough storage space to possibly fit anything in an Audi R8. And you would be right, for the most part. The Audi R8 does have a front trunk that measures in at 3.5 cubic feet and there’s also a storage ledge behind the seats.

The usefulness of the provided storage space was always for debate. MSN reported that “the space behind the front seats will take a golf bag or a few duffle bags.” While Consumer Guide said that the “(golf) clubs and occupants would have to be Munchkin-size” to fit in that space. Either way, we would say that there’s probably enough room all around to handle some groceries and maybe a couple of bags, but don’t be tempted to pick anyone up from the airport.

The most-affordable years

If you do plan to shop for an Audi R8, then we suggest keeping the criteria to the 2008-2011 model years. For the 2009 model years and above, there was the option to go with a 5.2-liter V10 engine – which produced 532 horsepower – as well as a convertible variant, however, those configurations now command higher pricing on the used market.

When it was new for that year range, the Audi R8 had an MSRP of about $116,000 for the V8 version and up to $167,000 in 2011 for the V10 Spyder version. A current nationwide search on Cargurus reveals that you can get a 2008 V8 version for around the mid-$50,000 range, while the 2011 models with a V10 and a convertible top still costs well over $100,000.

Costly, but affordable

We know that $50,000 is still a hefty price to pay for most of us, especially during these economic times. However, if you can swing the current buy-in price for one of these beauties, we highly recommend it as it is possible that values might be going up in the future.