• This 2009 Audi R8 4.2 has a current bid of $41,226 on the Bring a Trailer auction website.
• The car shows 12,000 miles on its odometer.
• Bidding ends Wednesday, May 11.
The ever-faster march of technology makes it easy to stay focused on the next greatest thing. But it also makes it easy to forget how great some of the automotive world’s “less-advanced” vehicles were not long ago—and, in many cases, still are. Case in point is arguably one of the most underrated modern supercars, the first-generation Audi R8, such as this 2009 model we came across on the Bring a Trailer auction site—which, like Car and Driver, is owned by Hearst Autos.
The original R8, which debuted for 2008, hails from a simpler time, back when Ferrari SUVs and widespread electrification were only fever dreams. True, the R8 still exists in V-10 form as a 562- or 602-hp bastion of internal-combustion fury, but today’s second-gen car has been infected by more computer processors and has lost some of the original’s elegance. In contrast, the soft, sultry lines of the first-gen R8 say exotic without shouting it, and in base form it had a mere 420 horsepower from a 4.2-liter V-8. But that melodious naturally aspirated engine loved to rev and, unlike today’s automatic-only R8, could be paired with a six-speed manual transmission. Just as important is the satisfying clack-clack action you get from working that shifter through its exposed metal gates as you bolt to 60 mph in a little over four seconds.
While that may be slow by contemporary supercar standards, it’s more about the theater of speed here, and the manual R8 is a Sydney Opera House of driving enjoyment. Which is exactly what you want in a comfortable, well-mannered performance car that you can savor every day. “The R8 will cruise the freeway with as little ride disruption and mechanical commotion as an (Audi) A4,” we wrote in 2007. “Yet at speed the R8 gathers itself into a tautly controlled crouch, heading where it’s pointed with remarkable precision and exhibiting none of the propensity for snap rotation that some mid-engined cars have made famous.” Pitted against the Aston Martin Vantage and Porsche 911 Turbo, the R8’s goodness earned it a comparison-test win in 2008.
Much of the R8’s ”wonderfully neutral” character can be traced to its rear-biased all-wheel-drive system, as well as the optional magnetorheological dampers found on this 2009 example painted in Phantom Black Pearl with matching side-blade trim. Inside the surprisingly spacious cabin you’ll find lots of black leather, a Bang & Olufsen premium stereo, and long-haul friendly sport seats with heaters. Currently for sale in Texas, this car only has 12,000 miles on its clock, plus a recent service record, a clean Carfax report, and a clean Louisiana title.
What really grabbed our attention is the current $41,226 bid on this car’s Bring a Trailer page. With six days left in the auction, that figure surely will creep upwards. But that’s still a discount-rack price for a car that cost around $110,000 when new. While that level of depreciation largely is the result of the greater popularity for the more powerful V-10 model that was added for 2009, we don’t care when it makes the standard car a viable alternative to a new Toyota Supra—and a far more special one at that. Besides, a little more speed is only an aftermarket supercharger away.
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