Audi has just unveiled the 2008 R8 — its first ever mid-engine sports cars. Sales will begin in the first half of 2007 for the United States and Europe. The car has a 420 horsepower high-revving V8 engine and all-wheel-drive. It uses the mid-engine Lamborghini Gallardo platform, and will somewhere between $80,000 and $110,000 — positioning it squarely against the BMW M6, Porsche 911, and Aston Martin Vantage. It features LED headlamps surrounded by LED running lights and indicators. LEDs are also used in the engine bay to make the impressive V8 visible even at night.
One of my dream cars has finally arrived as a production version and I am glad they managed to preserve the look and feel of the Le Mans concept car. I am sure they have made minor design tweaks to ensure the R8 will comply with automobile laws and regulations, but it is still what I expected from the production. I have to give Audi and VAG for having one of the better concept-to-production translations unlike the American companies such as GM.
I mean just look at how GM ruined the Saturn Aura by making the wrong tweaks when converting the concept car to a production vehicle. However, the worst concept-to-production translation occured with the Pontiac G6 production, which looked and felt like nothing that was promised in the concept car. The G6 was such a horrible car that it was slammed on Opera the LA Times and their sales only stabilised when GM introduced the coupe and convertible variants into the market.
There is much hope and promise when GM announced that they will make a production version of the Camaro concept, but their production version will be heavily watered down and drastically different due to the use of a completely different platform and cuts so they can sell them at lower price points.
Ford of Europe has improved their concept to production translations as seen from the SAV to S-Max, and the Iosis to Modeo vehicles. However, I can’t really say the same about their American counterparts who for some reason like to water down their production-ready concepts to make them more acceptable to their “conservative” customer base. For some reason, FoMoCo wonders why they are having such a hard time attracting new customers or customers who still use import vehicles…