Car reviews - Audi - R8 - Carbon Edition range
9 Dec 2011
THE first demonstrator example of Audi's strictly-limited R8 Carbon Edition has arrived in Australia, where at least one customer has stumped up to buy the special-edition R8 GT-lookalike.
For a $10,900 premium on any R8 variant, just 10 Australian customers will have access to a styling kit comprising various carbon-fibre components that emulate the look of Audi's red-hot 412kW/540Nm R8 GT special – of which only 333 will be built, with five coupes and five Spyders destined for Australia.
High-gloss, naked carbon-fibre weave is used on the R8's 'side blade' air scoops (substituted by carbon inlays on the Spyder), door mirrors, front lip spoiler, and rear diffuser while the illuminated sill plates also feature the race-bred material.
The effect is completed by the addition of titanium-finished 19-inch double-spoke alloys, gloss back grille and matte-black window surrounds and the Carbon Edition is only available in Ibis White, Phantom Black, Suzuka Grey and Daytona Grey paint finishes.
According to Audi, replicating the Carbon Edition look by selecting all its customisations from the options list would cost $38,100, but despite all that carbon-fibre there is little or no difference in weight between the Carbon Edition and the standard car, which ranges from 1560kg for the base V8 Coupe to 1725kg for the V10 Spyder.
Audi Australia General Manager Corporate Communications Anna Burgdorf reiterated the company line that the brand does not see the material as a silver bullet to weight-saving or sustainability due to the amount of energy required in its production and the difficulty in recycling it.
The R8 Carbon Edition is just one in a series of performance-oriented, value-added specials recently released by Audi Australia, joining limited-run variants of the TT RS, RS5 Coupe and S3 Sportback, while an A1 Competition Kit special will be released early next year.
As GoAuto has reported, Audi has a goal of reducing the the next-generation R8's weight by 100kg over the current car, which made its Australian debut in late 2007 and is based on the Lamborghini Gallardo.
An aluminium spaceframe construction combined with carbon-fibre in key areas of the structure will result in claimed world-class body stiffness rating of 40,000Nm per degree, with the body-in-white weighing just 198kg.
Since the R8's Australian launch, it has racked up a decent sales average of more than five units per month, meaning that so far 263 examples have found homes in the garages of well-heeled Australians.
Powered by naturally aspirated 4.2-litre V8 or 5.2-litre V10 petrol engines, power and torque outputs range from 309kW and 430Nm for the V8 to 386kW and 530Nm in the V10, which can blast from 0-100km/h in 3.9 seconds on the way to a 316km/h top speed.
The hardcore GT that inspired the Carbon Edition – and made its Australian debut at the Melbourne motor show in July – does the sprint in just 3.6 seconds and has a top speed of 320km/h.
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