The much anticipated Audi R8 V10 (Audi R10?) is to make its first official appearance at the Detroit Motor Show in January 2009.
The R8 has been a massive hit worldwide. It did seem when Audi launched the R8 that it might just be a step too far. How can a mainstream car maker pull-off a real supercar with credibility? Well they have, and it’s still in demand (although the original 18 month waiting lists have now shrunk to a few months, and premiums on the R8 are long gone).
Audi has been very clever by delaying the V10 version of the R8. With the R8 now well-established, and many original owners having sold on, there are no real worries about decimating used car values by introducing a better model too soon, and alienating their ‘happy-to-buy-new’ market.
Audi has achieved this remarkable marketing feat by clever ‘Halo’ advertising. I’m sure you remember ‘The slowest car we build’ ads that ran when the R8 launched (and are probably still running on the Audi Channel), which made it clear that Audi considered it a huge plus that they are a volume car maker, with the expertise to build this special car slowly. Well it worked – even though it was probably the first mainstream ad for a supercar on TV ever.
So we are to be treated to the new V10 version, which will have a normally aspirated 5.2 litre V10, putting out 520bhp – a big jump on the V8. That will probably drop the 0-60 time under 4 seconds, and pitch the V10 Audi right in the path of its sister car, The Lamborghini LP560-4. Oh to be a fly on the wall when Audi bosses discuss marketing with Lamborghini bosses at a VW marketing meeting (and you can throw in Porsche to that equation – after all, the R8 has taken a chunk out of 911 sales as well).
But Audi aren’t stopping with the V10. They have the Spyder version waiting in the wings, which is due to be launched at the end of 2009. Probably offering both the V8 and V10 versions, this looks to be a belter of a car. And this time Audi will start to take out top-end Mercedes SL and Ferarri California sales.
Its starting to look like Audi has a world domination plan. At this rate, they’re going to have the best car in every sector (and if you throw in the whole VW group, they’re already getting might close – if only they’d managed to steal Rolls Royce from under BMW’s nose they’d be almost there).
Oh, I nearly forgot. It looks like there’s also going to be an RS version of the R8, now that Audi has managed to prize the use of that monicker off Porsche. Can’t wait.