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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had occasion this weekend to take out for a test drive a 2007 RS4 my local dealer had. For anyone who has not driven it, this is a great car.

The handling and power delivery from the 4.2L V8 is simply excellent. This is an engine that in its own way equals or surpasses that in my former 360 Modena. The car is simply a monster. It jumps and claws ahead like nothing I have seen.

However, at the end of the drive it struck me that it fundamentally lacked steering feel and feedback. There was a numbness to the overboosting (or something) that insulated me from the road in a way that was objectionable. While it handled so well, I could not really feel what the car was doing as much as I would like.

In reading the reviews of the R8 so far, this same theme has come up a few times. It seems that it will take Audi a little time to address the boosting and feel.

The question arises, will the R8 feel like the RS4? What will it do the RS4 won't? Most importantly, in an effort to bring forward a "civilized" exotic has Audi gone to far here?

My deposit, place in line, enthusiasm and dedication to this car remain at full throttle. However, I would be interested to know what others thought of these issues.
 

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To anyone who has owned high pergormance Audi's, these are not new issues.

The handling and performance of the post Quattro generation of Audi's - S2, RS2, RS4 - is exceptional.

The steering feel in the original 1980's Quattro was better.

The weakness has always been in the "feel" in the steering and tendency to oversteer.

If you are used to driving Ferrari's and Porsche's, this is the first thing you will notice.

Conversely, I noticed this immediately when I borrowed a 911 some years ago. You are more "in tune" with the road and the car.

But, the downside is that these vehicles have bumpier rides do not make for everyday cars..........

Historically, the current RS4 has more "feel" than the original RS4, and that the R8 is said to have more still.

With the change in power distribution to the wheels (more to the rear), reviews seem to think its getting better still.

What Audi's offer is refinement as well as handling and performance.

If you want the raw feel all the time , then Audi's are not for you............

That said, the gap between Porsche and Audi seems to be narrowing, so hopefully you will find a degree of refinement compliments a slight loss of feel.
 

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I had occasion this weekend to take out for a test drive a 2007 RS4 my local dealer had. For anyone who has not driven it, this is a great car.
... ... ... The car is simply a monster. It jumps and claws ahead like nothing I have seen.
Glad you enjoyed the performance of the engine ... even if the connection between you and the road was not what it could have been.

Having been able to cover some miles in the RS4 on various roads in Europe I've found the RS4 is ... more than very capable of covering long distances easily swiftly and leaving the driver freash and relaxed at the other end.

Some more 'feel' between the tarmac and the steering wheel might be nice ... and we should hopefully be getting that in the R8 ... see the quote from R8 England that I've used below when talking about previous 'fast' Audi's ... and the apparent improvements that they made with the RS4 over previous performance Audi's and the next step apparently taken in the R8.
... ... ...
The weakness has always been in the "feel" in the steering and tendency to oversteer.
... ... ...
Historically, the current RS4 has more "feel" than the original RS4, and that the R8 is said to have more still.
... ... ...
With the change in power distribution to the wheels (more to the rear), reviews seem to think its getting better still.
I would welcome some more 'feel' in the R8's steering over RS4's ... a better 'connection' between road and driver would be ... however, I hope they've not gone too far with the improved 'feel' and 'connection' to the road in the R8 ... and removed the ability to cover long distances and still feel fresh at the end of the journey.
 

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I would welcome some more 'feel' in the R8's steering over RS4's ... a better 'connection' between road and driver would be ... however, I hope they've not gone too far with the improved 'feel' and 'connection' to the road in the R8 ... and removed the ability to cover long distances and still feel fresh at the end of the journey.
Agree! I drove 997 turbo few days ago and while I like the car very much there were some point that I did not fall in love with...

Its steering is probably more precise and you get pretty good feeling what is going on with your front wheels, but at the same time it requires for driver extra attention and you simply need to correct steering more oftenly on straight line! Side wind sensitivity is another issue with 997s as well. You simply need to be in full attention mode all the time if you want to drive 997 turbo very fast(remember very fast is for some people too fast!!)...

I hope that R8 steering will provide us with sufficient feel, but also with excellent high speed stability. Also my wife's hope that R8 will be more friendly to average driver then 997 turbo.
 

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I hope that R8 steering will provide us with sufficient feel, but also with excellent high speed stability. Also my wife's hope that R8 will be more friendly to average driver then 997 turbo.
Indeed ... good points from both of you.

I wonder if Audi could introduce a multi-function sport 'button' or 'buttons' ... nothing fancy like that horrible thing like the iDrive in the M6 ... which takes longer to set the car up for optimal acceleration from standstill than it would to just drive off hard after turning the key ... Audi could have three buttons to control throttle response, steering feel and suspension.
Throttle ... off for standard response ... or on for optimum response (like the sport button on RS4).
Steering ... off for normal steering assistance ... or on for less assistance and more 'feel'.
Suspension ... off for better comfort levels ... or on for better handling and feel.

If Audi don't like the complexities of having three buttons ... or multiple software configurations ... simply change the magnetic ride suspension button for a sport button that alters all three settings ... i.e. when in the off position it would provide maximum comfort levels and a smooth ride, terms of less agressive throttle response, positive steering assistance and comfortable suspension settings ... and when in the on position it would give faster throttle response, better steering feel and sportier suspension settings.
 

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I agree with you, but we only have:

MANUAL: Magnetic Ride settings(normal and sport)

R-TRONIC: Magnetic Ride and gearbox speed(Sport)
 

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Kreso,
Indeed, I know ... although it's a shame ... especially when you consider ...

1. they already have the required numbers for the two settings used to re-map the throttle response for the RS4 ...
2. they already have the required numbers for the two settings used to change the suspension for the R8 ...
3. they already know the required numbers for the two settings used to change the gear change speed for the R-Tronic ... (which is only needed on the R-Tronic)
4. all they need to to is calculate the different numbers for two settings, with one providing more 'feel' through the steering ...

Or maybe Audi haven't thought of it in quite this way ...
 

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I talked about this things with my Audi friend and he told me that main goal was to be simple as possible.

As you correctly point out M6 was a pretty good example to Audi how sometimes a good idea can be executed in very complicated final product...

What is interesting to me is increasing number of positive opinions about R-Tronic(Winding Road and specially Auto Week as well as most of the German car press)... I spoke today with my friend on morning sunday coffe and he told me that R-Tronic will be a huge success. In fact he told me to rethink my choice again...
Honestly, this thing is becoming little bit strange IMHO.

How, for God sake can someone decide between gearbox choice(IMHO most important thing on this car!) without driving them! And worst thing is that most Audi dealers do not have a clue about R-Tronic or how it works...
Bad job form Audi marketing department IMO!

Audi seems to have decided that R-Tronic is a BETTER choice! Why? Well, they will send R-Tronic version to German Sport Auto to test and measured it on Hockenheim and Nurburgring Nordschleife... And this test(actually Supertest!) is by far THE MOST IMPORTANT test for R8!
 

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I talked about this things with my Audi friend and he told me that main goal was to be simple as possible.

As you correctly point out M6 was a pretty good example to Audi how sometimes a good idea can be executed in very complicated final product...
I can appreciate them wanting a simple product ... and having seen the iDrive in the M6 they would have seen how NOT to make something simple.
What is interesting to me is increasing number of positive opinions about R-Tronic(Winding Road and specially Auto Week as well as most of the German car press)... I spoke today with my friend on morning sunday coffe and he told me that R-Tronic will be a huge success. In fact he told me to rethink my choice again...
Honestly, this thing is becoming little bit strange IMHO.
I can see press reviews liking the R-Tronic ... from a focused and committed driving perspective R-Tronic probably ticks, more or less, all the boxes ... and for a lot of press people this will be more important for a sports car ... rather than everyday usability.
However, for most customers how the car behaves round town is more important ... if you are going to be doing a fair amount of mixed driving.

I think it's been said many times on this site ... I know I've said it at least once ... if you are going to use the R8 for a lot of track days, the R-Tronic will likely be for you ... if you are going to do mostly public road or everyday driving, especially lots of commuter driving, then the manual will likely be the best choice.
How, for God sake can someone decide between gearbox choice(IMHO most important thing on this car!) without driving them! And worst thing is that most Audi dealers do not have a clue about R-Tronic or how it works...
Bad job form Audi marketing department IMO!
I quite agree ... not only do they need to produce the first cars for the press and Audi's most "high profile" customers ... to keep both those groups happy but ... imho ... the next batch of cars produced should be demonstrators that "enthusiastic customers" ... like us on here ... can take out on a test drive to make final choices on important options like magnetic ride ... a first for Audi I think ... and more to the point R-Tronic ... the item that Audi are pushing hardest to get customers to sign up for.
Audi seems to have decided that R-Tronic is a BETTER choice! Why? Well, they will send R-Tronic version to German Sport Auto to test and measured it on Hockenheim and Nurburgring Nordschleife... And this test(actually Supertest!) is by far THE MOST IMPORTANT test for R8!
I think it's fairly obvious why they are putting an R-Tronic model on the 'ring for press timing and review ... it is the most performance focused package for the racetrack and will probably get the best time ... while I prefer a manual, I would seriously consider the R-Tronic if I was a track day enthusiast and wanted a more track oriented and race focused car ... but I am not and will be doing the vast majority of my R8 miles on the roads.

Audi are targetting the R8 as a ... "high performance sports car" ... if I recall the words correctly.
This means that they will want to push technologies that promote "sporting" ability ... this means racetrack style driving ... which means magnetic ride and R-Tronic ... while both are new for Audi ... R-Tronic is the item that will affect how the driver interacts with the car the most so naturally they will push this harder than magnetic ride.
While magnetic ride is more than likely going to be an excellent option and offer better ride comfort ... and better handling at the edge of the handling envelope.

I think while Audi are doing what they think are the right things ... however, they have a lot to learn from the way they have done things ... and the customer reaction ... after all ... no matter what the press say ... it is the customers that part with their hard earned cash to buy their cars.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Given the extraordinary sophistication and capability of the Audi engineering team, one has to believe they are able to make this car feel exactly like they want. They, more than any other manufacturer, have shown that they can use technology to deliver maximum performance in whatever area of the car they chose to focus on.

Thus, it seems the car will feel exactly as they want it to (or think it should). The trade-off between feel and refinement will be where they think we want it.

It reminds me however, of the Honda/Acura NSX situation of the early 90's in more than one area. Then too, a foreign manufacturer was seeking to position themselves higher in the American market along the sports/luxury axis. They focused first on establishing strong racing credentials (as has Audi, except Honda used Formula One) and subsequently introduced a technologically cutting edge sports car (the NSX) which offered both sporting performance and refinement.

The NSX had it all; impecible handling, a high revving engine, an aluminum exotic body and a mid-engine design. Sounds like the R8?

It was critisized by the magazines for not having enough of an edge. Too refined, they said. It wasn't designed to be a Porsche and didn't beat them at thier own game.

As we all know, the NSX ultimately failed, for a variety of reasons. Others like Paul and Kreso can recite them here.

Me? I bought one with 22,000 on it when it was two years old (all I could afford at the time) and sold it three years later. It had 91,000 on it by that time. I had driven the hell out of it in and out of the canyons of southern California above Malibu as a daily driver to and from the office. It was delicious drifting through the tight turns (replacing the rear tires every 3,500 miles in those days!!) making me feel like Ayrton Senna, which I surely was not.

So I am ready for the NSX's spiritual succesor, and hope it does better. This time, I am able to afford one fresh. I just hope that when the design committee debates the issue the technology masters at Inglostadt err on the side of edge and feel, instead of refinement and isolation.

But no matter where the dart hits the target, I am going to drive the hell out of it and can't wait to get started.
 

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It reminds me however, of the Honda/Acura NSX situation of the early 90's in more than one area.

The NSX had it all; impecible handling, a high revving engine, an aluminum exotic body and a mid-engine design. Sounds like the R8?
Very similar scenario ... similar attributes really do abound.
It was critisized by the magazines for not having enough of an edge. Too refined, they said. It wasn't designed to be a Porsche and didn't beat them at thier own game.
Not sure Honda targetted the non turbo 911 sector that aggresively ... this was no doubt partly down to the agreement in place limiting power output ... 280PS if my memory serves me correctly ... for Japanese cars being shipped to UK and or USA ... made it difficult for Honda to really target the non turbo 911.
As we all know, the NSX ultimately failed, for a variety of reasons. Others like Paul and Kreso can recite them here.
I'm not the best person to roll out reasons for the apparent failure of the NSX to outgun the non turbo 911 ... although a part of the problem was the power output limits agreed on ... see above ... and the fact that Honda always envisaged the NSX as an everyday car that ... could just as easily be used to do the shopping as it could be taken out for a blat round a track.

Besides having always wanted an NSX since I first clapped eyes on one ... I'm not likely to run it down publicly ... there are plenty of qualities that the NSX has that other 'performance' cars do not ... unlike most two seater sports cars ... you can get two full sets of golf clubs in the boot ... I know as I have done myself ... no custom made bags or taking half sets out to play ... while the NSX doesn't have the initial low down pull that people might expect it to ... it isn't a slow car by any stretch of the imagination ... and whilst it may not be endowed with razor sharp handling ... but it does have steering good enough and balanced enough that you can really enjoy your favourite roads ... as well as being able to cross a country in a single jaunt ... well not the US ... but European countries can be disposed of simply and easily with just the odd stop for petrol.
Me? I bought one with 22,000 on it when it was two years old (all I could afford at the time) and sold it three years later. It had 91,000 on it by that time. I had driven the hell out of it in and out of the canyons of southern California above Malibu as a daily driver to and from the office. It was delicious drifting through the tight turns (replacing the rear tires every 3,500 miles in those days!!) making me feel like Ayrton Senna, which I surely was not.
911 driving feel or not ... it seems like you thoroughly enjoyed your time with the NSX!
But no matter where the dart hits the target, I am going to drive the hell out of it and can't wait to get started.
Indeed ... regardless of press reviews ... I'll be taking delivery of a freash R8 ... running it in nicely ... then giving it some real work to do ... :D
 

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Re: Top Gear first drive report

http://www.topgear.com/blogs/drives/013-audi-r8/

One more jack-ass automotive journalist bitches about the steering feel (and the R-Tronic).
Thanks for the link ... although it's more a first impressions write up than a proper review.

The dislike of the R-Tronic and steering feel can be put down to a couple of things ... brits tend to like manuals ... and steering feel first comparissons are going to be made in relation to various incarnations of the 911 ... which is regarded by the motoring press as the car with one of the best setups when it comes to steering feel (apparently) ... and therefore a benchmark which they will judge all other performance sports cars against.

Looks are a personal thing so comments regarding the looks can be ignored ... although the luggage comments are a little worrying ... but I'm sure I could squeeze in enough bags to enable me to go away for the weekend with the better half.
 

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