Audi has grown up right in the middle of luxury road-going cars and motorsport. But, some drastic company changes allowed Audi to develop one of the most sort-after supercars which are still loved by millions around the world, the Audi R8.
Since the start of Audi back in 1910, right up until the very early 2000s, Audi produced some of the most luxurious and high-performance cars of all time. However, there was a part missing from the brand, they never really had a flagship car, the type of car that would be a poster on a kids wall, or one spoken about and praised.
It wasn't until the 1980s that Audi developed the Quattro, and completely dominated in Group B Rally Sport. Since then, the infamous Quattro badge was added to standard road-going cars in Audi's lineup.
But, just having a Quattro badge wasn't enough. This all changed in 1998 when Audi bought over the Italian supercar brand, Lamborghini. With Audi now having exclusive insight as to what supercars are made of, quite literally, they then released one of the most successful Lamborghini models of all time, the Gallardo.
This got Audi thinking, with the success of one supercar, the Gallardo, being able to get Lamborghini out of financial trouble, what's stopping "us" from creating our own supercar? And the timing couldn't have been better, they were knee-deep into Le Mans at the time, and had a serious budget for research and development.
With a couple of green lights from the seniors at Audi, the design team started working on a new road-going Audi supercar concept, which they called the Audi Le Mans Quattro concept car. Unlike most concept cars, this one and the actual released R8 are virtually indistinguishable from one another. Under the hood, Audi gave this a mid-mounted 4.2 litre V8 The first-generation Audi R8 made its debut at the Geneva Motorshow in Switzerland in 2003, with the first samples hitting dealership floors in 2006.
The R8 was almost instantly an international success. However, the only big criticism it received is that it didn't quite have supercar power. So, for the next generation, Audi shook things up heavily by adding a V10 Lamborghini engine into the mix! And, on top of that, Audi also offered a Spyder option with this generation as well.
In 2011, Audi offered a new version called the R8 GT. This offered a few extra horsepowers and was substantially lighter, which made the new R8 as nippy as ever!
A few years later, in 2014, Audi gave the R8 a facelift with the R8 V10 Plus. It featured more modern and refined looks, and a few extra bells and whistles here and there. The biggest notifiable factor being that this was the first Audi R8 to be offered with a dual-clutch transmission. The Audi V10 Plus marked the last of the first-generation production.
After 10 years of the mighty R8, Audi completely redesigned the R8 for the second generation in 2016. The new R8 looked it was from the right decade, received a serious bump in power, and was only offered in a dual-clutch transmission.
In 2019, the Audi R8 received yet another major upgrade, which seriously transformed the R8 into the supercar it rightfully is, with over 560hp in the base model. One thing that has been trending is that this current version of the Audi R8 might be the last time we see an R8 in a V10, or even with an internal combustion motor...only time will tell!
Take a look at the video below by the YouTube channel, Ideal Media, on the Evolution Of The Bargain Supercar - Audi R8 2003 - 2021.
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