2020 Audi R8 vs. 2019 BMW i8

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the R8 and the i8 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, all wheel drive, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

Reliability

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 1 place higher in reliability than BMW.

Engine

The R8 V10’s standard 5.2 DOHC V10 produces 193 more horsepower (562 vs. 369) than the i8’s 1.5 turbo 3 cyl. hybrid. The R8 V10 Performance/Decennium’s standard 5.2 DOHC V10 produces 233 more horsepower (602 vs. 369) than the i8’s 1.5 turbo 3 cyl. hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

The R8 V10 Performance’s standard fuel tank has 8.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the i8 (19.3 vs. 11.1 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The R8’s standard fuel tank has 10.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the i8 (21.9 vs. 11.1 gallons).

The R8 has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The i8 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

A seven-speed automatic (SMG) is standard on the Audi R8, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the i8.

The R8 offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The i8 doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the R8’s brake rotors are larger than those on the i8:

R8

R8

i8

Front Rotors

14.4 inches

15 inches

13.4 inches

Rear Rotors

14 inches

14 inches

13 inches

The R8 offers optional heat-treated ceramic brake rotors, which last ten to twenty times as long as conventional cast iron rotors, don’t rust, don’t fade during repeated high speed braking, and their lighter weight contribute to better braking, handling and acceleration. The i8 doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the R8 has larger standard tires than the i8 (F:245/35R19 & R:295/35R19 vs. F:215/45R20 & R:245/40R20). The R8’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the i8 (F:245/30R20 & R:305/30R20 vs. F:215/45R20 & R:245/40R20).

The R8’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the i8’s standard 45 series front and 40 series rear tires. The R8’s optional tires have a lower 30 series profile than the i8’s 45 series front and 40 series rear tires.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the R8’s turning circle is 3.7 feet tighter than the i8’s (36.7 feet vs. 40.4 feet).

Chassis

The R8 is 10.5 inches shorter than the i8, making the R8 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

The R8 Spyder has a much larger trunk than the i8 Roadster (4 vs. 2.3 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

The engine in the R8 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the i8. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than BMW. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 10% lower rating, BMW is ranked 11th.

Recommendations

The Audi R8 outsold the BMW i8 by 20% during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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