Update: sold in Oct 2022 to make room for the next project – read my ownership recap here.
I picked up my 2008 Audi R8 V8 6MT in May 2021 after searching religiously on every car classified and auction site for six months to identify a car that was within my budget, had a gated six speed, and was a unique spec…it was tough to find given how hot the used car market is, and how rare the first generation Audi R8 was.
When this car popped up on CarGurus I pounced on it despite the seller having very few photos or information, and being 3,000 miles away from me. I bought it site unseen after having a PPI done at a local shop, and a friend of a friend go to inspect it in person.
It was a bit terrifying to buy my first supercar in this manner, but looking back I have no regrets! I paid the money to the seller, hired a shipping company (Plycar) and waited for about 2 weeks for the car to get picked up and delivered across the country.
Delivery day was unreal, I was overcome with joy…after waiting weeks, and buying the car site unseen, I was beyond eager to see it in person. So were my friends, and within minutes of it arriving I was greeted by my friend Doug in his RS2, and my friend Sam in his newly acquired R8:
We went for a brief cruise followed by a thorough inspection of the car where my friend Kevin of Elite Finish inspected the paint condition and start to plan out how we’d get the paint back to tip-top shape.
We discovered a few things about the car that made it an even better deal than I thought.
First of all, it was a custom order car through the Audi Exclusive program and is the only one in this spec in the USA, as confirmed by Audi of America.
I absolutely adore the color and spec, and haven’t seen anything like it, but I had no idea it was literally a 1 of 1 custom ordered car until I got it.
Secondly, the car had a full long block engine placement by an Audi dealer 30K miles ago, so even though the chassis is relatively high mileage (70K miles), the motor has less than half of that. It also has a new clutch in the last 10K miles, so the car should be in good shape for a while.
Lastly, despite being a Canadian car, the R8 had the CA emissions stickers on it, so it is fully registrable in all 50 US states, something I wasn’t sure on when buying it.
Beyond just being a good deal, the car also had some modifications by the previous owner that was a big value add to me. Specifically it has an exhaust that sounds UNREAL, aftermarket air intakes, H&R coilovers, and V10 carbon fiber sideblades.
Since acquiring the car, I’ve also added carbon fiber engine cover and air intake cover to complete the look, and had a thorough detailing/restoration by Elite Finish here in San Diego.
Last but not least, I got an oil change and brake fluid flush, new Michelin PS4S tires, and had two different shops inspect the car to make sure I wasn’t missing anything else that needed TLC or maintenance. The car passed with flying stars, a true testiment to how strong and reliable the 4.2L “BNS” V8 motor is that is also found in the RS4 and RS5…while I would have loved a V10, the V8 has some key advantages in terms of both purchase price and maintenance/reliability, while still packing plenty of speed.
Is that a V10, bro?
Perhaps the most annoying question that I get repeatedly is if I got the V10…no, I did not. I would have loved to, but it’s a significant price difference (anywhere from $20-30K more) and higher maintenance costs…and given the mid-engine layout, the V8 is plenty of power. I really don’t miss the extra 2 cylinders, other than having to answer the dreaded (and inevitable) question on which motor I have.
The second question I normally get is if the car is a manual, and thankfully that one is a proud yes. The feeling and sound of a gated 6 speed manual is next level, and by far has the best feel of any of my other manual cars.
How does it compare to the RS4?
I have to say, I deeply miss my RS4. I’m stoked it went to a great home (and good friend) who is enjoying it just as much as I did…but there is something very special about the RS4 and I definitely enjoyed it more than my TTRS despite it being slower, older, and half the price.
However, the R8 does make you miss the RS4 a little less. I’m surprised at how different it drives, sounds, shifts, and feels despite so many common parts. Oddly enough the V8 R8 borrows a lot of the powertrain from the RS4 (which I previously owned) and the interior borrows a lot of parts from the TT (which I’ve also owned) so it’s a bit of a parts bin special of two of my past cars and loves.
That being said, the engine revs quicker, the exhaust sounds much more exotic, and despite the TT interior, the car feels like much more of an occasion than any of my last cars.
Honestly, I don’t plan to modify this vehicle much, I like it how it is…and want to preserve the resale value as well. I’ll stay on top of preventative maintenance and going to do a carbon clean soon (as well as the other maintenance items noted in my RS4 Buyer’s Guide), and I’m in the market for carbon fiber mirror caps. I’ve also picked up a set of silver side blades that I’m going to swap on eventually just to see how it looks, and if I find a good deal on a set of carbon fiber interior trim, I’ll go that route as well.
More importantly, I don’t plan to sell it anytime. I believe this car will hold its value and likely appreciate now that nearly every mid-engined sportscar is an automatic now, plus the design is iconic and important to Audi, and has been called one of the greatest halo cars of all time. This car only gets driven on weekends and special events, while I continue to drive the Cayenne GTS for daily driving and commuting, which will also help keep the car in good shape and ensure driving it remains special and doesn’t start to feel routine.