I sold my R8 in October 2022, and wanted to recap my ~2 year ownership experience here for other people considering buying a Gen 1 R8.
In short, it was nothing short of fantastic – quite possibly one of my most reliable cars I’ve ever owned.
Other than regular maintenance (new battery, new tires, and oil changes), it had NO unexpected/unusual maintenance needs.
Insurance was also fairly cheap on the car (<$100/mo) and easy to come by, something you can’t take for granted with many other high-end sports cars and/or supercars.
It turned heads everywhere I went, and felt like a special occasion every time I started it up.
Over the course of ownership, the car appreciated by about $10K (comparing my purchase price to my sale price) meaning I was able to own the car for free if not a slight profit after accounting for the cosmetic work (e.g. detailing & replacing wear items) & ownership costs…another first for me, having lost my shirt on every other automotive purchase in my lifetime (note: the last 2 years were highly atypical due to the pandemic and supply chain issues, so your ability to replicate this is not a guarantee).
The seats are also very comfy (straight out of a TT) and the car could handle long road-trips just fine, something many other sports/super cars can’t. It’s not intimidating to drive, nor does it have a punishing ride.
My takeaway is that the R8 really does make a good “entry level / daily driver supercar” in the sense that is reliable, affordable, easy to maintain, and fairly cheap to own. It doesn’t feel exotic like a Lamborghini would, but it has a nice blend of supercar features and every-day car practicality.
Do I regret the V8 vs V10? Not really.
The extra 100 hp and sound of the V10 would have been nice, but I think a tradeoff would have been much higher ownership and maintenance costs (not to mention another 20-30K in purchase price for a mere 100hp bump that you’re not likely to feel in most driving conditions). The V8 truly had ample power, especially when mated with an exhaust, that you won’t miss much. Now that this is a 15 year old car, neither the V8 or V10 are super remarkable in terms of 0-60 speed compared to a newer car, so you’re buying the R8 for the experience instead of optimizing to have the fastest possible car for the buck in a straight-line (I’d imagine a used Tesla is probably your best bet in that regard).
If I had to do it all over again, I don’t think I’d change anything
. I can’t think of a better value under $100K in terms of supercar looks, mass production reliability (V8 in many other cars), and pleasure to drive (gated manual + german V8).
As I’m looking for potential replacements, it feels like you need to spend almost double the amount to find a car that truly feels like an upgrade – even a gated Gallardo (at $140Kish market value versus $70Kish for a V8 R8) is nearly double the price and only somewhat of an upgrade (they share a ton of parts).
If you’ve ever considered a R8, I’d highly recommend it. When buying, opt for the manual – but if you must have an automatic the facelift cars with S-tronic are nice and snappy…otherwise, I have no other major buying advice other than to buy a spec you like and get a PPI to make sure it has been taken care of. There are enough available that if you’re patient, you’ll find the right color and options that will make it even more special to own. Funny enough they don’t tend to do particularly well on the car auction sites, likely since they are easy enough to come by, so you can search on the main car classified sites (try Autotempest) as well as Cars & Bids or BaT and all should come up with fairly market appropriate selling prices.
Farewell R8, you were a great car. I hope you enjoy your new home in San Francisco, and I hope to find a worthy replacement soon.