2016 Audi Drive Experience
May 3rd: Audi India invites MotorBeam for the Audi Drive Experience.
May 3rd: “How I wish I get the chance to go for this!”
May 11th: Faisal – “All set to go for the Audi Drive Experience?”
May 11th: “Hell yeah! *Pinches self.*”
As you can clearly judge by the above dialogue, I was extremely excited when I got to know that it was me who was going for driving the complete Audi range. The excitement has built up due to two mega reasons. First, the event was to be held at a private airstrip. Second, the highlight of the event was the Audi R8 V10 Plus of which we were getting the first drive. Combine the two and any petrol head would have wet dreams until the event day. So here I was, quickly finishing off all the work during a vacation (who cares when there’s a V10 powered beast on the other side of it!) before embarking on the trip.
The first day was spent relaxing in the hotel and the evening saw us being a part of a small presentation about how Audi has grown in India in such a short span of time and then a small presentation on the R8 V10 Plus. However, it was the next day everyone was excited about. After a good night’s sleep, it was time to move on to Taneja Aerospace and Aviation Limited or TAAL as it is better known. When we reached there, we were welcomed by the complete fleet of Audi cars standing in a line. The sight was surreal. Soon, we were divided into three batches who went on to three different sections of the drive – A Drive, Q Drive and Performance Drive.
The Audi Q3 managed to clear all obstacles its elder siblings did, impressive for a compact SUV
I was in the batch which was going for the Q Drive first. My fellow journalists were quick enough to rush towards the cars and get into the biggest possible car. I having reached at the end had to make do with the Audi Q3. But, I was elated to have got the smallest car of the lot as I wanted to see how the baby Q performs off-road. To my surprise, it performed rather well and went through the course without any major issue. At a place or two, it did feel as if something has touched the underbody or the front bumper but the damage was superficial.
The course was designed by Audi driving instructors in a way to highlight the qualities of the Quattro system. I being an off-road newbie was quite intimidated by a couple of obstacles when I went in as a passenger. However, when my turn to drive came, the fear was gone and I cleared the course pretty easily. The most fun to cross obstacle was the tilt test wherein the two wheels of the car were at an angle of 35-degrees. Although the angle doesn’t sound a lot on paper, it is quite a lot. From inside the car, one would feel as if they can touch the ground.
The Performance Drive meant experiencing the ferocious acceleration in a controlled environment
After off-roading in the Q range of cars, it was time to move on to low slung cars. The Performance Drive has four cars for us to choose from – RS7 or RS6, S5 or TT. We could drive one car out of each set and it was the RS7 and TT which I chose to drive. The reason you may ask? I personally am a fan of the RS7 so it had to be driven. The Audi TT managed to attract me by its beauty so I had a go in it first. The drill was simple. When the instructor says go, I mash the throttle and keep it pinned until the braking point. At the braking point, I had to brake as hard as possible and then pullover to the side to swap drivers. The drill got over in just about a minute each time.
While my run in the Audi TT got botched up a little, the run in the RS7 was perfect. In the TT, I just about managed to touch 200 km/hr whereas in the RS7, the top speed was 242 km/hr. These seemed like good practice runs on the airstrip before the main highlight of the day. The instructor mentioned in the morning briefing session that the highest speed we could touch that day was 260 km/hr. Having driven the second fastest car of the day already and having touched the possible top speed in it, this just meant one thing. Yes, it was time to drive the Audi R8 V10 Plus. The fastest Audi in production. The Audi which shares its engine and transmission with the Lamborghini Huracan.
2016 Audi R8 V10 Plus Review
Since I had an early flight to catch, I was given an option of either going for the A drive which meant taking one of the Audi A cars out on a drive to a nearby lake or driving the Audi R8 at the airstrip. No prizes for guessing which option I chose. So then, it was time to drive the 5.2-litre engined beast producing 610 BHP with a redline of 8700 RPM. The insane amount of power means that 0-100 km/hr comes up in just 3.2 seconds and if the conditions are ideal, one can go up to 330 km/hr. Given the length of the runway, we were told that the maximum speed we could touch would be around 260 km/hr.
The Audi R8 V10 Plus was ridiculously easy to drive considering it is a supercar
Leaving early does give you an advantage sometime. I got the chance to drive the Audi R8 before others which meant that the car was in its best condition. Seat set in position, dynamic mode selected, dry mode selected, left foot holding the brakes, right foot pinning the accelerator down, it was time to launch. Left foot off the brakes and off the car went like a bat out of hell. Before I knew it, I was crossing 200 km/hr and approaching the 260 km/hr mark soon after. At the braking point, I hit the brakes as hard as I could and as expected, the car shed speed without any drama. The drive was over in too short a time and I didn’t want to get out of the driver’s seat.
But, it was time to move on. In the short time that I spent with the Audi R8 V10 Plus, I can say that it has all the elements which would keep a petrol head happy. Gorgeous looks, luxurious interiors and a beautiful drivetrain. At a price of Rs. 2.55 crores (ex-showroom), it is good value for money too when compared to supercars from other brands. Yes, it doesn’t get a badge as exotic as Lamborghini or Ferrari, however, it has the capability to offer most of what those cars have on offer at a price which is significantly lesser. And that is what makes it an excellent supercar.