It’s like watching Muhammad Ali against Muhammad Ali, really

How would you describe the first-generation Audi R8? While you’re finding your words, know that Jacky Ickx called it “the best handling road car today [i.e. back when it was introduced in 200]” yet we believe the old R8’s character is better highlighted not in front of its rivals and certainly not by itself, but in the presence of the current Audi R8.

Enter Carfection and their latest video, a petrolhead-centric masterpiece that looks at the first and second iterations of one of the most recognizable and desirable supercars to ever be born. Let’s get to it, then.

Generation Gap? What Generation Gap?

The first-generation R8 took Audi to places previously frequented only by the likes of Porsche and Mercedes-Benz. It’s also Tony Stark’s car in the Iron Man movie so that says a lot about its cool factor.

The original R8 was the brainchild of Martin Winterkorn and could be had with either a 420-horsepower, 4.2-liter FSI dry-sump version of the V-8 found inside the Audi RS4 or a larger, 5.2-liter V-10 cranking out 525 horsepower. And yes, you could have a gated, almost see-through manual gearbox bolted to each powerplant.

The V-10-powered R8 could clear the 0-60 mph bracket in 3.4 seconds, while the V-8 did it in 3.9 seconds.
New Audi R8 Meets Old Audi R8 and The Real Winners Are Us
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Then came the R8. Powered exclusively by a naturally-aspirated V-10 shared with the Lamborghini Huracan, the second-generation R8 produces 602 horsepower in its top Performance iteration and 413 pound-feet of torque. Power goes to all four wheels through a dual-clutch seven-speed S tronic transmission. There’s also an electronically controlled multi-plate center diff and a mechanical rear axle one making sure power and torque reach the ground as efficiently as possible. Zero to 60 takes just 3.2 seconds.

via GIPHY

Now, back to the video in question. While this is not your regular duel per se, as in the two cars don’t engage in rolling races, drag races, or track battles, we do get a lot of feedback from Henry Catchpole and Vicki Butler-Henderson, who, by the way, is not impressed by the fact that the current R8 is only available with a dual-clutch gearbox.

New Audi R8 Meets Old Audi R8 and The Real Winners Are Us
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That, however, doesn’t hide the fact that the current R8 is faster and quicker off the line than the model it replaced and it can hold its own on a twisty track.

If we’re allowed a tad of subjectivity, we believe the old R8 is the best looking of the two. What’s your take on design? Because it’s pretty obvious that these two are two excellent machines when it comes to performance.

Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager - Automotive Expert - tudor@topspeed.com
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read More
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