It seems that Audi have gone all ‘Gallardo’ with the R8.
If you’re taking that as a playful reference to the two models commonality in construction under the skin then good, because as of the revealing of this latest R8 iteration a niggling feeling emerges. That the twilight hours of this iconic game changing sports car may be blighted, as the Gallardos were, by that stuck record vibe.
The Gallardo, though much loved by myself and just about everyone, took too long to die. If not for its bullish charms, the rather long in the tooth baby Lambo that put the ageing in raging bull would have been squashed by the infinitely more accomplished newborn rivals.
The R8 in spite of its massive capability as an expertly all round proposition for a supercar, does not benefit from the same aesthetic and novelty appeal. The R8 sells on cool and ‘chic’ as opposed to the Gallardos veritable styling ‘shriek’ .
Though neat, handsome and beautifully appointed it is definitely feeling its age both inside and out.
Functionality wise its appeal is in repeal too. In terms of running costs, CO2 output and performance it remains THE supercar of 2009.
So, following the introduction of the now little heard of LMX, 60 units of the similarly equipped ‘Competition’ will see US soil only, as of next year (without the laser headlights that spooked some American legislators).
Producing 570 horsepower from its now rather smoggy looking V10, it takes R8 off-the-forecourt performance to new heights. Being coupled to that genius new dual clutch transmission, it should shift with the best of them too.
But the next gen’ R8 has held the headlines with such a grip in recent months that todays car, however capable and rejuvenated it is, still feels likes its getting past due for a timely retirement.
I am in no doubt that the delays in the next gen cars gestation and those saturated headlines have led Audi to tactically turn the spotlight back onto the outgoing model with some of that generously applied limited edition sparkle, and to that end I am somewhat sympathetic.
It does feel harsh to pick at the R8 during its dying days. As it stands it hasn’t clung on anywhere near so offensively as the Gallardo, which was a dead man walking come the 2013 facelift.
Upon reflection of all that the R8 has achieved for Audi and for the standards of the segment that it has revolutionised in its tenure, it is apparent that it remains an excellent and iconic car and should therefore by rights go out in a blaze of glory.
But the tragedy of the Gallardos legacy remains. Largely remembered for outstaying its welcome- it would be very sad to see the R8 immortalised as such.
There is such a thing as a great performance rendered good by one too many encores. The Gallardo can regrettably testify to that, so lets make it short and sweet, shall we Audi?