Audi’s R8 Spyder is the most emotional car in the line-up of the iconic Bavarian brand with the four rings. Dieter Losskarn released the flagship sportscar into the wild of the Karoo. And he recommends two other powerful R8 siblings for the slightly less conspicuous crowd.
I am just about to take the first sip of my well-deserved sundowner G&T, when the two uniforms enter the reception area of the historic Bergkant Lodge in Prince Albert. With a slight embarrassment one of them asks: ’Who is the driver of the yellow Audi R8?’
It’s me and I love this last vehicle of its kind. A naturally aspirated sportscar that doesn’t care about downsizing. The most emotional Audi ever, sparkling with passion. And with the rarest engine concept, an insanely powerful V10. This ride is a sensory overload. Depending on the revs, it first growls, then howls and finally climaxes in a gorgeous scream. All of this unfiltered, just behind your ears. The V10 plays a song, that will forever stay in your ears.
It was this very song I wanted my friend and Bergkant owner Michael to hear. So a couple of hours before our sundowner we took the yellow sound machine onto the (almost) empty country road R407, connecting Prince Albert with Klaarstroom…
‘Well, a farmer laid charges for reckless driving against you’, adds the one uniform reluctantly, ‘you have to come to the police station tomorrow’.
To cut a long story short, the investigating officer had to drive 25 kilometers to the olive farm at the foot of the Kredouw pass to interview the farm workers, that apparently had been on the back of the complainant’s bakkie. After asking them whether the yellow car was fast, they answered in unison: ‘No, it was loud and beautiful’.
Subsequently the P.A .prosecutor through the case out. ‘Now we can go for a ride’, the investigating officer said to me with a mischievous smile, after delivering the good news. ‘But take the other road out of Prince Albert, towards the N1. And no, none of my colleagues are hiding in the bushes’.
The R8 Spyder combines teutonic perfection with goosebump-inducing emotion. It looks much better topless than its closed sibling, albeit for a half a million Rand premium. Short in front, long in the rear, uncomplicated, without frills, but still breath taking. The street cred is obviously enormous. In the open R8 you will definitely get noticed.
If you still want power and fun, but in a slightly less conspicuous way, there is Audi’s most potent coupe below the R8, the enchanting, muscular RS5, for less than half the price. And it only takes you 0.3 seconds less than in the R8 to reach 100km/h, with lots more storage space. While I thoroughly enjoyed the R8 during my road trip, the stunningly beautiful RS5 Coupé is my personal favourite in the Audi line-up. If I would be younger I might have chosen the compact cracker hot hatch RS3 Sportback though. Aptly dubbed the tarmac terrorist, due to its enormous power in such a small, wild looking package.
But what all three Audis have in common is the fact that they are every-day cars as well. Out of sport mode they cruise comfortably. But sitting behind their gorgeous steering wheels you wont be able to cruise leisurely for long. Releasing your inner hooligan is always just one push of a button away.
Audi R8 Spyder/RS5 Coupé/RS3 Sportback
Engine 5.2-l. V10 naturally aspirated/2.9-l. V6 twin-turbo/2.5-l. 5-cyl. turbo, paired with a 7/8/7-speed auto & Quattro all-wheel drive
Power 397/331/294kW and 500/600/480Nm
Top Speed 318/280/280 km/h
0-100km/h 3.6/3.9/4.1 seconds
Price from R2 905 500/R1 285 500/R895 500