With the sunlight hours getting shorter and the weather getting gloomier, the motorway is a dull and dreary place during the daily commute. In an ideal situation a sports car would make the world of difference and it’s forgivable to daydream given the wealth of choice that the range offers.
It seems that every country has more than one sports-car manufacturer to its name now and some which weren’t historically associated with the range. Take BMW and Audi, for instance. Once typically associated with luxury and saloon cars, both have offered up some formidable sports cars in recent times and Audi’s new R8 is on a competing level with the BMW M6, or is it?
There are many aspects to consider when judging a sports car, and they’re not all related to the performance. After all, when you buy a sports car you want people to look at it with more than a touch of admiration and the green-eyed monster. Especially as, if you’re motoring around England, it’s safe to say that sitting in traffic jams won’t be too unfamiliar.
On a looks basis the Audi R8 is a clear winner. While the BMW M6 is certainly sleek and boasts some nice five-spoke alloys, it is somewhat pedestrian. It’ rear three-quarter profile looks worryingly reminiscent of the 3-Series Compact and there’s an inescapable sensation that you’re looking at a plumped-up Peugeot 406 Coupe. Not what you want if you’re dropping upwards of 80k on a motor.
In sharp contrast, the Audi R8 is just that: sharp. It exudes a sense of powerful speed even just sitting still. It’s all ducts and intakes sculpted into a smooth body that looks like some hunched-up predator waiting to rip the road into pieces. Given that the R8 wades into your bank and takes just under 80k, it had better look like it’s about to break every speed limit.
The Audi R8 also boasts a higher theoretical top speed of 301 km/h to the M6′s 250 km/h. I say theoretical as it’s highly unlikely that you’d get a chance to push the accelerator all the way to the floor and keep it there long enough outside of a track day and keep you license. Given that these cars aren’t exactly Class 1 on the insurance level, the fewer points you have on your license for being caught tugging over the tonne on the motorway the easier it’ll be to get insured.
So the real element, performance-wise, that makes the difference is acceleration. Which one hurls you into the back of your seat and keeps you there until you lift your right foot off the gas?
Well, let’s look first at that poised monster the A8. Is it an animal waiting to pounce? It is. This thing will get you from 0-70 in under six seconds, five point five to be precise and do a quarter mile in under 13. Knowing that you don’t join the motorway at zero, let’s put it another way: the V8 lurking beneath all that sculpted shine will get you from fifty to seventy in just two and half seconds, I think it takes me longer than that to complete a sneeze.
So, what of the M6? It may look like a on over-fed hot-hatch but it’s hiding a naturally-aspirated V10 engine beneath that blue-and white badge. This means that even the lightest touch will send the rev counter up like a racing car.
Yet all those lucky motoring writers have said that it’s easy to feel like you’re sat in luxury saloon than a racing car, especially on the more gentle and un-challenging roads. Like the motorway, then, which even it’s name brings to mind. Isn’t the M6 the longest motorway in Britain?
Accounts of driving the Audi R8 have it surging out of corners with a sense of almost violent urgency, amazing speed and grip and leaving many addicted to it. Not having a spare 160k in my account, or even half of that to buy one, or being a motoring journalist with a questionable hair-style it’s unlikely that BMW or Audi will let me get a chance to test these cars for myself and thus conclude the day-dream testing.
With that in mind, and statistics being famously unreliable, I shall have to give the day-dreams on the grey motorway mornings to the Audi R8. A supercar needs to look like it’s moving even if it’s not. When you see it in your rear-view you want to feel a bolt of terror that if you don’t get out of its way fast, your car will be eaten.
The R8 screams power and force and has the engine to match. It’s the kind of car you keep locked in the garage so that it doesn’t scare the neighborhood children or passing Alsatians. For a more gentlemanly power-stroll though the M6 would be parked on the drive so as not to terrify the neighbours.