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Man Maths: 2008 Audi R8

1 month ago

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Dan Prosser | Ti co-founder


13 April 2024

Seemingly every year I write about early Audi R8s and how undervalued they are, predicting an imminent and dramatic uplift in values. But it still hasn’t happened. Either I’ve massively overestimated the car itself, or my timing’s been out. I am convinced it’s the latter – sooner or later these cars will be recognised for what they are and values will rise. Won’t they?

Until then, though, I reckon there’s a bargain to be had. The first of the R8s still looks superb, like a concept car driven right off the revolving motor stand and onto the public highway. It might actually be improving over time, becoming more handsome with every passing year.

Man Maths: 2008 Audi R8

Drive one even briefly and you’ll see right away what all the fuss is about. The original R8 rides like a Lotus, is beautifully balanced and steers with real precision.

It has the powertrain to match. The high-revving V8, borrowed from the RS4, is as sweet as they come. It sounds fantastic as it rushes towards its 8500rpm limiter and if you need much more than 414bhp in a car weighing 1560kg, you’re in more of a hurry than me. The manual gearshift with its Ferrari-style open gate is every bit as good as the engine it’s mated to.

Downsides? Interiors can feel brittle these days and the infotainment system, like any such system from this era, looks ancient. I would also be nervous about running costs. This is a junior supercar, after all, which means junior supercar bills await any new owner. Engines are generally reliable but a very small number of owners have reported catastrophic bottom end failure. That’ll be down to oil levels dropping below the minimum level or, to put it another way, owner negligence.

Man Maths: 2008 Audi R8

Replacement discs and pads, worn suspension components, a new clutch every 40,000 miles or so, routine servicing, tyres… You’re going to need to set aside a reasonable sum of money to keep an early R8 on the road and in good knick, but the same is true for a Porsche 911 of the same vintage (a friend with a 997-series 911 Carrera assumes he’ll spend at least £2000 a year on maintenance) and any other comparable car, for that matter.

There’s a 2008 example with 51,000 miles behind it on the PistonHeads Auction platform as I write. The hammer drops on Wednesday next week – it’ll be fascinating to see what the car fetches. The guide is £30,000-£33,000. If it sells for that sort of money, it’ll mean these cars haven’t quite reached the very bottom of their depreciation curve. Perhaps it comes back to those running costs.

Man Maths: 2008 Audi R8

Whichever way R8 values are heading, that doesn’t seem like much for such a brilliant car. An electric MG ZS costs just over 30 grand. I’m in no position to buy an R8 just now, but maybe that’ll change in a couple of years. By which time R8 values are absolutely guaranteed to have… Actually, I’ve no idea.

You’re going to start seeing more blog-style content like this on The Intercooler. The blog allows us to write about the cars we’ve driven or spotted for sale, the things we’ve been up to and the places we’ve been that don’t warrant a full Ti feature story. Rest assured these blogs are as well as our daily features, not instead of. In short, there’ll be more to read, up to three or four blog posts a week, which we hope can only be a good thing – DP

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