Audi’s “Everyday Supercar” Pairs Well with Valved Exhaust System

Audi’s initial foray into the supercar world was a unique one, aiming to combat the establishment of Lamborghini and Ferrari with a mid-engined sports car that was competitive yet refined and civilized for normal use. The R8 was intended to be a well-rounded option that could fly under the radar despite its otherworldly looks.

The platform evolved to develop race cars for GT3, GT4 and GT2, along with limited production road cars that highlighted the R8’s performance capabilities. Even the “R8” moniker is shared with the all-conquering sports prototype from the LMP era. While the entry-level model was powered by a V8, these most capable variants were built around an intoxicating naturally-aspirated V10 derived from its stablemates at Lamborghini. But the brand’s shift in focus toward electrification meant the R8’s days were numbered, and the final production unit rolled off the floor in the first quarter of 2024. Now seems like the proper time to truly appreciate what the R8 was and send it out with a bang—quite literally.

The R8 Performance is, as its name not-so-subtly implies, a more potent iteration of the outgoing generation, as if the modern V10 was being given a farewell tour. The 5.2L unit gets a boost to more than 600 horsepower, now capable of 205 mph, and is supplemented with bigger ceramic brakes to rein that power back in. And yet, the dynamic capabilities and trim-specific touches don’t overwhelm the refined compliance that the R8 still retains even in its most aggressive form. Instead of sacrificing one for the other, we wanted to maintain the best of both with our Valved Exhaust System for Michael’s 2020 R8.

Upon installation and before even firing the V10 to life, our Valved Exhaust System sheds more than 30 pounds from the factory muffler, thereby immediately advancing the Performance model’s credentials in a way a factory mass-produced road vehicle could not feasibly accomplish. Then at the press of a button, the initial cold start is a theatrical affair before it simmers down to operating temperature for a quick media drive.

The R8’s poise on the road is impossible to quantify even as Audi Sport touts the car’s capabilities using some hand-picked facts and figures. Setting out in the Normal driving mode with the exhaust valves closed is practically serene, with only a hint of the mighty V10 behind you, and the Performance model’s fixed suspension still doing a reasonably admirable job of navigating Pennsylvania’s merciless roadways. But once we turn off toward our destination, free from traffic, a click into Dynamic mode abruptly changes everything as if it’s a different car entirely.

The V10 roars from dormancy, turning every driver input into a fireworks show. The car’s rapid acceleration comes with a proper motorsports soundtrack, with 3-inch tubing, a bespoke x-pipe, and a secondary flow path sharing responsibility of a smooth, high-pitched tone. But once you come off the throttle, the fun isn’t over–dramatic pops, burbles and backfires accompany the overrun and you can’t help but giggle a bit, no matter your age.

At its heart, the R8 is as committed to supercar superlatives as its pricier competition, but it doesn’t succumb to the clutches of impracticality. For the driver who makes use of the R8’s billing as the “everyday supercar,” our Valved Exhaust System is the ultimate solution.