While Tesla may have cars that perform like they’re from the future, whenever I think about the look of a future car I think of the Audi R8. Audi Sport GmbH’s 2-door roadster sports car has sleek lines, a simple design, and plenty of power. The longitudinal mid-engine and quattro permanent all-wheel drive only add to the futuristic features of the Audi R8.
Manufactured since 2006, the Audi R8’s aluminum monocoque (or put more simply, the “skin” of the sports car) and space frame (meaning the truss-like structure, which is configured in a geometric pattern) also do splendid job of making the vehicle appear as if it has arrived from a time not yet realized. It is also the first production vehicle to utilize full LED headlamps.
The Audi R8 was announced in 2005, after the concept car, the Audi Les Mans quattro concept, made appearances at both the 2003 Frankfurt International Motor Show and the 2003 Geneva International Motor Show. This is not to be confused with the racing car, the R8 Le Mans Prototype.
To make an Audi R8, the factory in Neckarsulm relies on less than one hundred workers and ninety-five lasers, which together put out anywhere from eight to twenty-nine cars a day. After the final 5-second laser inspection okays the vehicle, it can be sent to dealerships in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and the U.S.
There are several variations on the Audi R8, including but not limited to the R8 Spyder (which had the feature of a retractable cloth roof), the R8 e-tron (the electric version of the Audi R8 which is slightly smaller than the original), the R8 GT (this version weighed less than the original and had more engine power, meaning it could reach speeds of up to 199 mph), the R8 Grand-Am (a racecar version that debuted in Daytona in 2012), and a police car version.
Since the Audi R8 is a mid-engine vehicle, it comes with wider tires on the back axle, either 18 or 19 inches, and they come from either Continental or Pirelli. It is also interesting to note that the R8 uses LED lighting for the daytime running lamps, or DRLs. This dedication to using advanced technology, slick design, and quality materials have made it a popular car ever since it appeared in 2006.
It has won multiple awards, including “Best Handling Car” and “Fastest Car In The World” (Autocar, Fifth Gear) and “Car of the Year” (Autobild, Automobile Magazine, MSN, and European Car), in 2006, 2007, and 2008. It was even awarded the “Classic Car of the Future” prize by Motor Klassik.
If you have any remaining doubt as to the car’s future potential, the R8 e-tron was launched using a PS3 game called Vertical Run, in which players had to collect electric energy and avoid crashes to reach top speeds. In 2014, the Twitter campaign #WantAnR8 collected footage of virtual test drives to create an advertisement along with several recording artists. With the R8’s presence in game shows, video games, social media, and racing, its impact on the world will only become more marked as time goes on.