By: IOL Motoring Staff
Ingolstadt, Germany - When even your company slogan lays emphasis on the latest technology, you need a 'halo car' with wow factor - and that's one thing the limited-edition Audi R8 LMX has plenty of - starting right up front with the first laser high-beam headlights fitted as standard issue on a production car.
In 2008 the original R8 was the first production car with all-LED lighting; in 2012 it introduced dynamic indicators with an unmissable sweeping action. Now the V10 supercar (which has also been endowed with more power) gets a laser spot on each side to give the high beams significantly greater lighting range on high beam.
A laser module in each headlight cluster generates a cone of light with twice the range of the all-LED headlight. Each module comprises four high-power laser diodes. With a diameter of just 300 microns, these generate a blue laser beam with a wavelength of 450 nanometres.
A phosphor converter transforms this into roadworthy white light with a colour temperature of 5500 Kelvin - ideal for the human eye, enabling the driver to recognise contrast more easily and help prevent fatigue.
Since the dangers of looking into a laser beam have been well publicised the laser spot, which is active at speeds of 60km/h and more, supplements an LED high beam in the R8 LMX; a camera-based sensor detects other road users and actively adjusts the light pattern to avoid dazzling oncoming traffic or pedestrians.
The light emitted by the laser beams before they pass through the converter is a distinctive blue, and this has inspired a special 'crystal effect' blue paint finish for the new R8 LMX; if preferred, it can also be ordered in matt-effect grey or metallic black.
The LMX also comes with a distinctive fixed rear spoiler and lots of carbon-fibre trim while blue accents continue the theme inside, along with bucket seats upholstered in nappa leather with blue diamond stitching.
Audi claims that this is the most powerful street-legal R8 yet; its 5.2-litre V10 has been tweaked to deliver 420kW and 540Nm (from 404/540 in the 'plus'), delivered via a seven-speed S tronic transmission to a quattro permanent all-wheel drive system, which distributes it judiciously to racing-inspired 19” 20-spoke alloys shod with 215mm front and 305mm rear tyres, over 380mm carbon ceramic brake discs with red-anodised callipers.
That's good enough, says Audi, to launch it off the line to 100km/h in a claimed 3.4 seconds and on to 317km/h flat out, while still averaging less than 13 litres per 100km.
The rest of the running gear is as per the R8 V10 Plus model, with all-aluminium space-frame bodyshell and double-wishbone suspension all round.
Only 99 LMX R8s will be made, priced from €198 500 (R2.83 million) each, and only in coupé format. The order-book for right-hand drive LMXs opens on 26 June, for delivery in the third quarter of this year; we’re waiting to hear from Audi SA whether any of those have been allocated to South Africa.