The cold temps and snow come and we hide our cars away, safe and sound. Or so it normally goes, unless you decide to make your AWD, Lamborghini-powered daily driver, your winter beater. This was about to be awesome, or a horrible lesson in car guy logic.

I had an Aston Martin V12 Vantage (100% amazing car) as my summer car and a TTRS for rain days and winter. The TTRS was a fantastic daily driver, and that was the problem. If the 5-cylinder Audi could do winter with nothing more than a set of snows, then the 10-cylinder Audi could do it twice as good. So with that nugget of common sense, the TTRS was sold and an R8 V10 took its place.

There are very few mid-engined exotics that can be driven through a proper winter. Actually, I can’t think of another. Most cars of this ilk (Porsches excepted) barely even see the horror of rain, never mind five inches of snow on their roofs.

That’s a shame because these cars are capable, so isn’t it a sin not to drive them? Aren’t we the fools for squandering the opportunity?

One of the great joys of owning a V10 are the morning starts, and these only sounded better when it was cold outside. The engine just roared as it tried to come up to temperature, and displayed the most amazing display of vapour as the car showed its breath. This never got old.

When the snow finally came the fun started. With 500 horsepower, wide tires, and snow on the ground, the R8 felt more Lamborghini than TTRS. It was very easy to control, but put your foot into it and the rooster tails rose out the back. The high revving motor made the power delivery easy to control. The normally impervious exotic became the willing hooligan, but at much lower speeds. I cannot stress how much fun the car became.

The R8 is low, but it easily made its way through deep snow at lower speeds. Around town the car worked perfectly fine, and not once got stuck. I didn’t trust it in deep snow at highway speeds though. I drove the family hauler on those days.

The cabin is small, so getting it warm was easy. The windshield on the other hand is huge and scraping it was a pain. You’ll find getting the snow off your R8 is an easy task though, as it’s so low and so small.

Being so low, also meant you had to be vigilant around lazy drivers that don’t properly clear their cars of snow or ice. The R8 could easily get stuck in a blind spot and regular drivers people aren’t looking for low slung exotics on snowy January mornings.

When you drive your R8 through a winter, half the people will think you’re a hero, the other half will think you’re a madman. They are both right. It is entirely doable, but not normal. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I loved how hard core it made me feel. But I also loved how it felt like forbidden fruit. Anyone can drive to the coffee shop parking lot in August, but only the committed drive a sports car in January.

That’s a shame, because cold, grey skies are better with a V10 soundtrack.


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Images courtesy of the author.


Published on Jan 22, 2016