On the exterior, the first thing people will notice is the big stanchion-mounted wing. It and the carbon front splitter are both from European tuner PPI and both have been wind-tunnel tested. Besides adding downforce, the rear wing has also been proven to actually increase the car's top speed. As slippery as the R8 looks, it must experience separation over the rear glass that causes excessive turbulence behind the car. The big wing causes air to tumble along at the rear and lessen any parasitic drag. The front splitter decreases the amount of airflow underneath, creating a low-pressure area and pulling the chassis toward the pavement. The factory rear spoiler still functions and raises at speeds. It would have probably been easier for PPI just to disconnect it when they installed theirs. They couldn't though, because not only does the stock spoiler work as an aerodynamic aid, it also works to funnel air into the rear engine compartment for cooling. Seen in photographs, the spoiler can look enormous depending on the viewing angle. In person, it's actually rather handsome, the fact that it is functional all the more reason to want one.
Suspension modifications are still being debated. The factory setup is near ideal for anything but hardcore track-day exploits. In the future, it may be lowered with a set of sport springs that will leave the factory magnetic dampers able to function as designed. The front splitter is already threatened by every driveway and speed bump it sees. Given the R8's adequately low center of gravity, it would be painful to sacrifice driveability for the sake of aesthetics. But given the owner's taste and tolerance in exhaust systems, maybe a limitation of driveways will not be an issue.
At first sight, this R8 made me want to grab my Members Only jacket and my Ray-Ban Aviators and relive the glory days of The Hoff. It makes you realize just how good a modern car is, especially with slight modifications. A car like the R8 doesn't need to be completely reengineered. It just needs a few well-placed, well-planned components to take it to the next level. Crank up the German techno-pop, put some extra mousse in the hair, and we're off to save the world.
2008 Audi R8
Longitudinal mid-engine, all-wheel drive
4.2-liter V8, dohc, 32-valve. Cat-back open exhaust
Six-speed R tronic
Four-link independent suspension with adjustable Magnetic Ride damping
Eight-piston calipers, 15-inch rotors (f), four-piston calipers, 14-inch rotors (r)
*Wheels And Tires
Dymag two-piece, 8.5x19 (f), 11x19 (r)Pirelli P Zero, 235/35 (f), 295/30 (r)
PPI carbon-fiber front splitter, PPI rear stanchion wing, carbon side blades