What would the average PHer say to a spec like this? 550hp at 8,000rpm from a 5,204cc, naturally-aspirated V10; 0-62mph in less than four seconds, a top speed nudging 200mph; a kerbweight not an awful lot more than an RS3; a standard six-speed manual gearbox and the illustrious status of being one of nine supercars specced that way in the UK. Oh yeah, and it's £66,000, or about half its new price, despite being just five years old.
Pretty compelling, huh? And that's the quandary of the Audi R8. Even though it revolutionised expectations of fast Audis, upset the sports car establishment like nothing had for decades and, in V10 Plus form, delivered an unforgettable mid-engined supercar experience, it still doesn't quite get the recognition it deserves. This is a high-revving, naturally-aspirated V10 car with a chassis of sublime ability and an open-gated manual - the last of its kind, because there's no way the new R8 is ever getting one of those - available for the price of a PDK Boxster GTS. Yet somehow the penny still hasn't dropped.
The badge must have something to do with it. This is the price of a 2004 Lamborghini Gallardo, after all, or even a 997 Carrera GTS. You'll only just get in a V12 Vantage for this money, and it'll be for a car that's five years older. This Plus model, a car with more power over a regular V10, standard ceramic brakes, a 50kg weight reduction and with first drive reviews calling it "something very special", "a card-carrying member of the supercar royalty" and "sensational", isn't even that much more expensive than regular R8s - a V10 cabrio, albeit with fewer miles, is £65k.
We know what you're thinking: "I don't want this one, it has a wrap and spoiler I don't like." Well that's the joy of wraps, isn't it? That can come off (it's grey underneath), as can the spoiler, and the wheels painted back silver again (or any colour you wish, in fact.) Then it's back to being a V10 Plus that will blend in with any other R8. Just the most powerful first-generation car, arguably the most driver focussed and surely the rarest.
Of course, much of the R8 Plus charm will be there in a regular V10; a car that, incredibly, can now be purchased for less than £50,000. That said, just enough changed for the Plus - including a unique passive spring and damper tune in addition to the upgrades listed above - to make its sufficiently more desirable, at least to those who get just how good the car is. And while it isn't quite the full on GT3 rival, there's never going to be an 8,500rpm-capable, manual Porsche with more than 500hp available for less than £70,000. Probably ever.
The R8 V10 Plus, therefore, is a very easy car to make a case for, at least to those people who can see beyond the badge. While it may continue to depreciate a little more as the V10 engine and R8 model continues to evolve, when the day comes for that engine to change - or should the R8 be discontinued - then you'd expect the missing recognition to finally catch up with the most powerful original version. It just has to. Especially when there are fewer in the country then there are toes on your feet. And if not? Well, the world's gone mad.
SPECIFICATION - AUDI R8 V10 PLUS
Engine: 5,204cc, V10
Transmission: 6-speed manual, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): 550@8,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 398@6,500rpm
First registered: 2014
Recorded mileage: 46,000
Price new: £127,575
Yours for: £66,000