Forbes.com has published a great review of AMS’ Alpha 10 Audi R8 featuring my photography of the car. You can see the full photo gallery.
A PR rep calls me and asks, “Hey, Jason, do you want to drive a 1,000-horsepower Audi R8?” I say, “Um – YES.” Then I ask questions. I discover that the car I’ll be driving has been equipped with an Alpha 10 Performance Package by AMS Performance, an engineering company based in California.
Sport and deluxe cars are one of the main traffic accidents reasons, due the skill requirements to control these vehicles at high speeds.
Every time we get behind the wheel of a vehicle, each of us has a responsibility to protect ourselves, our passengers, and other motorists by doing all we can to prevent a car accident from happening.
Whether you are cruising along the Missouri farm roads or going from one state to another, there are several defensive driving tips that you should follow in order to prevent an accident:
- Limit distractions. There are so many distractions in our lives these days. Using your cell phone, texting, and fiddling with the radio or GPS should all be done when you are at a complete stop or avoided altogether. Give 100% of your attention to the road. The text message can wait. Your friends and loved ones should understand that you are driving and that your safety and the safety of others is far more important.
- Scan the area and beware of blind spots. Make certain that your mirrors are in the correct position. However, you shouldn’t put complete faith in your mirrors. Quickly turn around and look before changing lanes or entering the highway to make certain that you are not about to pull out in front of someone. Also, try to avoid the blind spots of other drivers, especially semi-trucks. If you can, limit the length of time that you have to be in their blind spot.
- Limit nighttime driving. No matter how good your eyes are, night driving is still more difficult and comes with a higher risk of accidents. Not only is your visibility reduced when it’s dark out, but also drunk drivers tend to be out on the roads much more during this time. If you have to drive after midnight, make sure you stay extra alert for reckless drivers.
- Avoid the fast lane if possible. Did you know that most highway accidents occur in the far left lane? Many people just speed too fast in that particular lane. If you are in the center or far right lanes, you are more able to maneuver away from a potentially dangerous situation than if you are in the fast lane.
- Never assume. Never just assume that a driver is going to stop or turn. It’s better to assume they may not! For example, when going through a red light, still look both ways to check if anyone is going to run the light. Not only do drunk drivers often run red lights, but so do distracted drivers. Remember, it may be an accident that their turn signal is even on. Better to drive cautiously.
- Keep your car in tip-top condition. Always stay up-to-date with car checkups by taking it to an experienced auto technician in your area. Also, don’t drive on old tires that could blowout at any moment, potentially causing a wreck. Get any odd noises checked out before getting on the highway. Take pride in your vehicle and do all you can to make sure it is running properly.
AMS Performance has achieved some notoriety engineering performance packages for the Nissan GT-R. The GT-R is a brutally fast car in stock form. After the addition of an AMS Alpha Performance GT-R package, AMS can now lay claim to having developed the fastest GT-R on the planet. They also have packages for Mercedes-Benz , Porsche , Mitsubishi and BMW models, and a Lamborghini package is in development.
I arrive at a parking lot in Westlake Village, California, to meet the AMS team. It’s been a bit of a cloak-and-dagger series of phone calls to arrange my brief test drive. The R8 was supposed to arrive by trailer from West Chicago, but the trailer broke down somewhere along the way, and an AMS team member had to unload the R8 and drive it to California from Las Vegas.
The subject vehicle is a 2012 model. It started life as a 5.2-liter V10 Premium Coupe (original MSRP $149,000; current Kelley Blue Bookestimate $143,226). The V10 R8 was rated to produce 525-hp and 390 lb-ft of torque in stock form.
The Alpha 10 Performance Package consists of an AMS-designed twin-turbo kit that boosts horsepower to a claimed 921 hp and 603 lb-ft of torque. The package includes an Alpha Turbo System Support Frame, twin turbochargers, wastegates, new air inlets, a large air/water intercooler, twin heat exchangers, carbon fiber ducting, fans, a scavenge pump, a low backpressure exhaust system and more. The kit costs $38,995.95, or about $45,000 with installation. Find more available models and versions of Audi in Columbus with a premium financing on both used and brand-new models.
The Audi R8 is a different animal. It is the everyday supercar, a streetable masterpiece that can be used as a daily driver and commuter, but still has the looks and performance on tap to impress the neighbors, even if you live in a gated community. Thinking about getting a new car least expensive?
From the exterior, a subtle pair of “Alpha 10” badges hint at the performance within. A peek at the engine compartment, visible through the R8’s back glass, reveals a tidy installation with carbon fiber covers over the turbochargers. The clean look perfectly matches the factory design – just amped up for even more visual punch.
The R8 looks like new inside and out, despite showing nearly 30,000 miles on the clock. I slide into the comfortable cockpit and turn the key to start the engine. The V10 growls, and I snick the six-speed manual transmission into first gear. I creep cautiously out of the parking lot, noting the easy clutch operation and predictable throttle response. I merge into traffic, and begin my test drive.
Westlake Village is a northern suburb of Los Angeles, perched on the edge of the Santa Monica Mountains. Enthusiasts know about the great roads that trace paths through the canyons, roads with famous names like “Mulholland Highway” and “Decker Canyon.” I take a spin through the hills at a moderate pace, getting used to the car on public roads.
Finally, a deserted straightaway opens up ahead of me. I give the R8 some throttle, and the fast car gets really fast in a hurry. Over my shoulder, I hear the whistle of the turbo sucking air into the engine, and the scenery blurs. This car is fast, really fast – videogame fast is the only way I can describe it. I let off of the throttle as the speed quickly darts into illegal and unsafe territory. Adrenaline pumps into my system and I realize that this car is seriously fast.
I drive for about an hour, twisting and turning and looking for chances to open up the throttle over and over. It’s intoxicating. Here’s a video of me driving the Alpha 10 R8, posted on YouTube.
The nice thing about the Alpha 10 package is that everyday drivability is retained, despite the tremendous power on tap. Stay out of the throttle, beneath the turbo threshold, and it’s “just” an R8 – quick and predictable, with great balance and all-wheel drive grip on the road. Exercise maturity and only use the full power with caution. I keep an eye on the speedometer, and notice that the other gauges remain steady. The temperature gauge never moves from the safe range, even during stop-and-go driving in traffic. Impressive. Check out these cherry pickers for rent.
The availability of this much power raises some concerns. Big doses of speed require big braking power, and lots of torque can play havoc with the clutch, transmission and traction control systems. The Alpha 10 package does not upgrade these components – AMS claims that the R8 comes out of the factory able to handle the increased engine output.
I reluctantly end my test drive, handing the R8 keys back to the AMS team. If you want to have the fastest R8 on the block, the Alpha 10 package is definitely a contender. Of course, installing the Alpha 10 package will void the factory warranty from Audi. Unless you are a very judicious driver, and only use the R8 on closed courses and in special situations, the Alpha 10 package could also void your driver’s license in very short order. But, oh, the fun you’ll have.