The latest Audi R8 strikes a major blow for both speed and technology, with the most powerful incarnation of the model the first production car to feature laser lights as standard. Audi’s 198mph R8 LMX will make its UK public debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and is sure to turn a few heads when the headlamps are lit up.
Audi’s laser beam technology increases the illumination range “substantially”, according to the maker. Indeed one laser module in each headlight generates a cone of light with twice the range of the all-LED headlight. The laser spot, which works alongside the LED, is only active once you reach 37mph.
Drivers don’t even need to worry about dipping their beams when another car is coming toward them, as a camera-based sensor system detects other road users and actively adjusts the light pattern to avoid dazzle.
Audi’s racing pedigree shines through with this technology. The combination of LED and laser high beams will feature on the new Audi R18 e‑tron quattro at the Le Mans 24 hours on June 14th and 15th.
“Audi has long dominated the most important 24-hour race. In addition to the outstanding TDI drive technology, a maximum light yield gives our pilots a major advantage, and with night racing in particular is a key factor to our success,” says Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, board member for development at the German firm. “The transfer of the laser headlight to the Audi R8 LMX underscores our leading position in lighting technology.”
Cutting nighttime accidents is a key aim and it is hoped that the impressive vision offered will mean drivers have a much better view of the road and of potential hazards.
For a high-end sports car such as the R8 a damaged road surface full of potholes can be a particular worry when driving at night. It can be very hard to spot these dangers and a claim on your specialist sports car insurance is all too common.
And with the car priced at a cool £160,025 on the road, repair costs are not going to be small.
Just 99 of the Audi R8 LMX are to be produced, with the handful of lucky British drivers set to get theirs no sooner than the autumn. Based on the V10 plus model, the new edition boasts a top speed of 198mph and can reach 62mph from a standing start in an eye-blinkingly quick 3.4 seconds.
Handling is improved thanks to a large, fixed rear spoiler for increased downforce on the rear axle. It also uses carbon fibre-reinforced polymer for the front spoiler lip, side flics, engine compartment cover, exterior mirror housings, side blades, rear wing and diffuser.
If you want to see the car in the flesh, it’s going to be one of the highlights of the Goodwood Festival of Speed, which runs from June 26th-29th.
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