Audi R8

Brands Hatch Hero

By Maarten Hoffmann

There are certain drawbacks to this job and having to find time in a busy diary to accept an invitation from Tony Rice at Coulsdon Audi, to travel to Brands Hatch and test all the latest high performance Audi RS cars is one of them. Really, the inconvenience of it all!

The diary was cleared in about 2.4 seconds and off to Brands l went – at speed. I was welcomed by a smorgasbord of Audi engineering with almost the entire range of RS models available.

Now if you don’t know the RS, it stands for Rocket Science (not really) and is the equivalent of Mercedes AMG or BMW’s M Series – a great car then ‘breathed’ on, or as we used to call it, souped up.

I first took the RS7 Sportback for a squirt around the local roads to get a feel for the latest RS technology and with 560PS V8 twin-turbo, it’s definitely no slouch and then in for a quick change into the RS5 Coupe, which l have to say l highly rate in its road going form, but this one is phenomenal with a 4.2 litre V8 engine and 7-speed S tronic transmission you get an endearing little exhaust pop every time you change gear in anger, which might get annoying unless like me, you make frequent  and unnecessary gear changes just to hear the pop and burble.

When in comfort mode, it is calm and docile but flip it to Dynamic and with 0-60mph in 4.9 seconds, this is a very fast car with a very sexy noise.

Or what about a family estate car that that does 0-60mph in 3.9 seconds and will proceed north of 155mph – ridiculous l hear you say. Well, get yourself into the driving seat of the RS 6 Avant and that is exactly what you get – it’s totally bonkers but in a very good way.

My track time arrives at last and l calmly (running at full chat) make my way to the pits to be presented with the new R8, a shiny set of keys and green lights all over the iconic track. Well, died and gone to heaven does not quite describe it but there was very little rubber on those fat tyres when l had finished.

Along Brabham Straight at a speed l have no awareness of as l was concentrating so hard but l hit Paddock Hill Bend at about 140mph with a touch of brakes and then up the hill to Druids, where full ceramic anchors are applied to save meeting the barrier. Oh what fun.

The R8 is finely balanced with a 43:57 axle load distribution and a thumping great Perspex covered V10 power plant at your back. It can really be chucked around corners and with the Quattro working hard, it makes the most imbecilic driver feel like Nigel Mansell, which in the long term l would suggest, can only lead to catastrophe.

Suddenly my reverie is disturbed by some guy in the pits waving a finish flag at me but honestly, my vision in that eye is not at all good, and it took another 5 laps before he managed to get my attention!!

A great day with a great range of cars on a great track and many thanks to Coulsdon Audi – heaven died gone!

great perspex