Audi R8 V10 - Sending out the wrong signal
There are certain situations where it's best to say nothing. And there are certain economic and geopolitical circumstances where you need to know what constitutes the most sensible response.
One approach is to build environmentally friendly eco-cars and to dazzle the technophiles with brightly innovative details, e.g. Toyota Prius / IQ, Honda Insight, GM Volt, all of which are capable of series production.
But you can also build less politically correct cars such as the BMW X6 and still boost your image whilst scoring a success. Audi have decided to go down the same route as BMW and further accentuate the frivolity of the R8.
Instead of the current eight cylinders, the new top model in the series, the R8 V10, is powered by a modified 10-cylinder engine already familiar to us from the Gallardo. Four-wheel drive ensures that the traction is up to the mark.
So not a hybrid, not a thrifty diesel, not an electric drivetrain... Ten cylinders and 525bhp as a statement of automotive insouciance, all for a mere €142,400. Aside from the fact that even the existing R8 is a concept from a bygone era, the V10 upgrade flies in the face of current reality.
Of course, we should never underestimate the fascination of a super sportscar, and thankfully, it is still possible to justify the existence of such vehicles. However, it would have done no harm at all if Audi had just underscored this fascination with one tiny innovative concession to green principles. But unfortunately, they are sending out the wrong signal at the wrong time
So the R8 V10 is destined to end up as just one amongst many mid-engined 'supercars' à la Ferrari and Lamborghini. Contrast this with the Fisker Karma which succeeds in showing that it really is possible to combine fascination, status and green credentials.