Out of every possible curve--and there are so many possibilities in southern Spain--the P Zeros hook up hot and sweet, letting the tail slither just a little bit out but not threatening life and limb. The 15/85 torque split is shared from the base V8 car, ESP can go partially or all the way off, and Audi's version of the miraculous Delphi magnetorheologic dampers, called Audi Magnetic Ride, are standard with the V10. Audi estimates lateral acceleration at 1.2g and I was feeling about that much a lot of the time.

It's a shame that Audi hasn't yet been able to afford a dedicated version of the dual-clutch S tronic as the optional tranny here instead of the challenged R tronic single-clutch Graziano 'box. Given this, the only thing I'd do to improve the R8 V10 would be to save $9,100 right off the bat and stick with the standard six-speed manual. I mean, the R tronic doesn't even have a clear Park setting. While in the Manual setting Audi does resolve the involuntary upshifts at redline and kickdowns while passing hard by including a Sport button, but that's just plugging holes. Nonetheless, leave it in Sport and everything's fine for hot forward motion.

Audi Quattro builds all R8s at the Neckarsulm factory and has a reported annual capacity of 5,500 units. In a hint that we ain't seen nothing yet, Audi says that by the end of this R8 Generation 1 in 2013 the V10 will have accounted for somewhere north of 35 percent of the total run, and that the hardtop/roadster split will hit 50/50. All to be taken with grains of salt; whereas they initially were sure that 70 percent of us worldwide would be wanting our R8 with R tronic, it turns out now that 70 percent actually stick with the outstanding short-throw manual gated shifter.

When (and apparently all of a sudden, if) the R8 V10 arrives in North America at the start of 2010, it'll start in the U.S. at around $165,000. At that price, anyone choosing the Lambo (starting at $198k base) is a crazy bastard and I'm buying him a drink.

2009 Audi R8 5.2 FSI
* Layout
Longitudinal mid-engine, all-wheel drive

* Engine
5.2-liter V10, dohc, 40-valve, FSI direct injection

* Transmission
Six-speed manual; optional six-speed R tronic automatic
* Suspension
Double wishbone geometry front and rear, Audi Magnetic Ride magnetorheologic dampers

* Brakes
Cross-drilled, internally vented steel rotors; eight-piston aluminum fixed calipers (f), four piston calipers (r); optional ceramic rotors
* Wheels and Tires
Ten-spoke Y-pattern forged alloys, 8.5x19 (f), 11x19 (r)Pirelli P Zero, 235/35 (f), 305/30 (r)

* Dimensions
Length/Width/Height (in.):
174.6/76.0/49.3
Wheelbase: 104.3 in.
Curb Weight: 3,583 lb.

* Performance
Peak Power: 518 hp @ 8000 rpm
Peak Torque: 391 lb-ft @ 6500 rpm
0-60 mph: 3.7 sec.ec.
Top Speed: 196 mph

Price Tag
142,400

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