Audi R8 V10 vs Lamborghini Gallardo

February 4th, 2010

Audi R8 V10 Drag Racing Video

We had a full day of testing planned with a 2006 Lamborghini Gallardo and a 2010 Audi R8 5.2 FSI with the V10 engine.  The 2006 Lamborghini Gallardo is powered by a 5.0 liter V10 naturally aspirated motor producing 520HP as per Lamborghini.   The Audi R8 borrows it’s motor from the latest Gallardo LP560-4 using a 5.2 liter V10.  While the Gallardo LP560-4 is rated at 560HP, the Audi R8 is slightly de-tuned to 525HP.

We put the Gallardo on a Mustang dyno to see how much power it really puts down.  The first pull was done with everything as is from the factory produced 428HP and 295 ft-lbs to the wheels.  The 2006 and later Gallardo’s have a variable exhaust system in which valves in the exhaust system can open and close to keep noise levels lower while cruising around town and on the highway.   When the motor goes above 3,200 RPM the valves open and the V10’s engine can heard and felt in all it’s glory as it should be.  An electrical plug in the rear of the car can be unplugged to keep the valves open all the time for a great sounding car all of the time.

We wanted to see how changing the exhaust system to run open all of the time might affect the power produced by the engine, so our 2nd dyno run was made with the connector un-plugged and the exhaust valves open all the time.  The second pull with the variable exhaust connector un-plugged produced 419HP and 292 ft-lbs to the wheels.   Since that loss of power could be attributed to heat soak, we ran the car on the dyno again and it produced 424HP and 292 ft-lbs to the wheels with the connector plugged back in with the car back in stock form.

While those are just peak numbers, by looking at the dyno graph, you can see that un-plugging the variable exhaust reduces power and torque across the graph and in the mid-range it’s as much as 15HP. Above 3,200 RPM the exhaust is opened anyways, so it’s possible the car’s ECU senses the different configuration and makes adjustments.  Taking the highest number of 428HP and using an 16% drivline loss, we come up with a 509HP figure.  As a comparison, a stock Nissan GT-R made 415HP to the wheels on this same dyno and the GT-R is rated at 480 HP from Nissan.

The Audi R8 couldn’t make it to the dyno test in time so we rescheduled the R8 dyno for next week and headed out to Palm Beach International Raceway in the Gallardo to meet up with the Audi R8 for some heads up drag racing.  We arrived a bit early with the Gallardo we made an initial run to see how well the track was prepped.  This Gallardo is equipped with the E-Gear transmission, we followed the owners manual instructions for max acceleration off the line.  We put the Gallardo into Sport Mode with ESP off and staged the car.  We then stabbed the throttle to 100%and the car revved the engine to 5k RPM and dropped the clutch in a moderately aggressive fashion.  The Gallardo’s tires were on the edge of needing to be replaced so the car spun quite a bit off the line and ran a 12.24 @ 116.94 MPH with a 1.95 60′ time.   We tried another run in Sport Mode and ESP On to try and control the spin and the ESP kicked in slowing the car down a bit with a 12.4 @ 116.4 MPH.

When the Audi R8 V10 with the 6 speed manual transmission showed up we had enough time to run the Gallardo and R8 heads up down the drag strip 2 times. To keep from abusing the Gallardo’s $8,000 clutch we decided to soft launch in Sport Mode and ESP On.  For the first run the Gallardo had a better reaction time and both cars had the exact same launch with a 2.12 60′ time.  The R8 ran a 12.58 @ 113.94 MPH to the Gallardo’s 12.62 @ 115.42 MPH, but it will wasn’t enough the catch the Gallardo by the finish line.  On the 2nd run the Gallardo’s reaction time was better again, but the R8 got a much better launch with a 2.08 60′ time vs the Gallardo’s 2.241 60′ time.  While the R8 was clearly catching up to the Gallardo, it still couldn’t get the win, even with the better time of 12.43 @ 117.47 MPH vs the Gallardo’s slowest run of the night, 12.77 @ 115.31 MPH.    On the 2nd run, we actually kept running for a bit past the 1/4 mile mark, and the Audi did pass by the Gallardo at a decent pace.

Although we didn’t get to dyno test the Audi R8, it’s pretty clear that the Audi R8 is underrated from the factory.  It’s rated with only 5HP more than the Gallardo, weighs and extra 200 pounds and was pulling on the Gallardo at the track.  We think the R8 V10 will put around 475 HP the the wheels and with a decent launch both the R8 and the Gallardo could easily dip into the 11’s in stock form.   Special thanks to the crew at for the video footage. Take a look at the dyno graphs, timeslips and videos below:

Lamborghini Gallardo Timeslip, Videos and Dyno Graph

Gallardo Dyno

Audi R8 V10 Timeslip, Pictures and Video
Audi R8 V10 Drag Racing Video