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Thread: Rural R8 dirt roads and ferries?

  1. Default Rural R8 dirt roads and ferries?

    Hi all,

    I live in a rural part of SA but would really love an R8. However we have around 4km of dirt road before our house. The road is regularly graded and generally as good a quality dirt road as you could hope for.
    Would this be an issue? Is the car really not going to like it ?

    Second issue is we live on the other side of the river to the main town, meaning I have to cross a cable ferry to get there. Anyone ever crossed something like this in an R8?
    Many years ago I had a lowered MK4 Supra that I could just get on, if I turned sharply at the ramp angle getting on and off. There are also a number of lowered holdens that do the same. However I suspect the R8 is lower again (argh why no lift!?) and the geometry of the nose will also play a part.

    Driving on a dirt road is one thing, but not being able to get home because I get stuck on a ferry would be a rather bad first day of ownership.

    Hopefully someone has had some experience with either of these and can offer some thoughts.

    Thank you.


  2. #2


    Well, IMHO, the "dirt road" issue is entirely up to you,,...whether you mind getting the undercrriage of your pride & joy dusty, or, if it rains, muddy. I try to look after whatever "toy" I have, & have often thought how I would cope with a dusty road, even though it wouldn't affect the operation of whatever car it was that I was concerned about. I actually know people who haven't bought houses because they were on a dirt road!
    But the front clearance issue is another matter, which is common to me, at the moment, because our HSV GTSR is EXTREMELY low at the front & requires a lot of care, even in ordinary driving conditions to avoid fouling the front splitter. In a couple of moments of "brain fade" I have actually only(luckily) very lightly done this exiting a strange service station etc. And yes, same as you, we ALWAYS have to be on an angle when exiting any driveway etc. Your Ferry issue would definitely be of concern with any low clearance car. The angle of descent could even vary with the height of the river/water could it not,...I reckon it'd definitely be an issue with our GTSR.
    I suppose all you could do is find an R8 & measure the front clearance at the most forward point of the car, then measure how far back the front wheels are (where they make ground contact) from that point, go to the ferry with those measurements and you'll then find out what issues you have?!
    Regards, Pickles.

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    wilsonj (June 21st, 2019)

  4. #3
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    No plans to move house Jamie?

    Based on what you have described I don’t think you should get the R8 - not the environment for it and it will end up getting trashed. Maybe buy something like an RS4 instead - should cope OK with most of what you’ve described.

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    wilsonj (June 21st, 2019)

  6. #4


    Just done the Perth and back trip in a B5 RS4. Many of the same issues encountered. It will never be clean day to day and finally getting it clean will take forever. Clearance is always a problem although I only ever scraped once on the trip. Took the car on many dirt roads, flat graded are fine but any center ridges are out. Biggest issue with dirt roads are the chance of sharp rocks. Always concerned that the rather fragile high speed tyres will suffer some damage and sods law is you only find out at the worst possible time. Sadly, while an RS4 may resolve some of the issues, you'll still trash it over time. The leading edge of the rear guards on mine got peppered from the wider stance.
    C5 RS6: APR, Milltek & Wagner -- B5 RS4 : tastefully modified -- C5 2.7 allroad -- B5 A4 1.8 quattro 132 Kw -- UNIMOG 404 TLF8

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    wilsonj (June 21st, 2019)

  8. Default

    Thanks so much for the replies. Maybe I should just get an SQ7.

    Pickles, you are right regarding river level. At least when it is high the angle is quite flat and less of a concern. But in the current position it could be more challenging.

    Would the dirt road be as much of an issue if the car was wrapped ?
    I know the tyres aren't designed for dirt either, being a soft compound. Would it be feasible to put harder, lower performance tyres on ? I know this would effect performance...
    For years we drove a caprice with 20" 30 series without issue.

    Not planning on moving for the time being either.

  9. #6


    Some things you can do, some you can't. The R8 requires tyres with a speed rating equivalent to the top speed, more or less. The factory tyre spec is what you need to keep it legal. So the sensible solution of different rims and tyres might solve on issue if the rims fitted but raise another. God only knows why the 20+ inch phase is around. except on billiard table roads, the cars abilities are compromised, rim damage easy, but anyway................

    Practically an SQ7 will give you the best outcome of the three, Range Rover, Porsche SUV, Lambo SUV is you're adventurous.
    C5 RS6: APR, Milltek & Wagner -- B5 RS4 : tastefully modified -- C5 2.7 allroad -- B5 A4 1.8 quattro 132 Kw -- UNIMOG 404 TLF8

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    wilsonj (June 23rd, 2019)

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