News/ Industry/ RIP R8, a 17-year-long legacy came to an end.

RIP R8, a 17-year-long legacy came to an end.

On the 23rd of March 2024, the last Audi supercar of the ICE age rolled out of Böllinger Höfe. TopGear UK witnessed this imminent heart-wrenching end of an era. The original plan was to kill the R8 in 2023 but Audi held on to this mid-engine V10-powered screamer for one more year. God help us that our generation had to witness the demise of Iron-Man and now the car that has been associated with the fictional yet super-philanthropist.

The R8 was Audi's halo car for decades and was well-appreciated as a practical supercar around the globe. It all started with the Audi Le Mans Quattro concept, and Audi unbelievably pulled it off, doing true justice to the design. Partnering with Audi saved Lamborghini and even ended up in every Punjabi song of that time. So what did Audi get in return? A 5.2-litre V8 engine, even if it was from the humble Gallardo.

Jeremy Clarkson approved that the R8 was the best supercar, without any of the usual drawbacks of a supercar. He even made a hardcore Porsche fanboy like Hammand admit it. Clarkson adored the space and comfort the Audi offered. In particular, the Quattro all-wheel-drive system remained forgiving even during drifts.

Having Lamborghini behind their backs, Audi plonked the V10 from the Huracan right in the middle of the R8. Now the sad reality hits us: the soon-to-retire Huracan is the last standing V10 under these brands.

Despite being practical and a "sensible supercar," Audi R8 sales tapered off, and the brand considered a farewell for the first time. The reasons might be anything from being less flashy for the people who wished for more bling to having rich cousins with the same bloodline (obviously a Lamborghini is a Lamborghini). However, the R8 is celebrated among true enthusiasts, and until the second generation, it even offered a 6-speed gated manual like the classic Italian supercars.

India got a fair share of the Audi R8s, and it was once celebrated by celebrities just as much as the cars themselves. It is said that over 150 of these beauties are still around the country. 

Through the 17-year-long run, we saw the Audi R8 GT RWD, we saw Audi's adieu in Japan with an extremely rare 8-unit Final Edition in matte Ibis white, and a couple of more limited editions. Now the last of the last Audi R8 is in Vegas yellow, wearing bronze 20-inch wheels. 

That said, we are told that this Performance Quattro Edition will neither see a customer nor a red line; instead, it is destined to be showcased in the Ingolstadt Museum. However, this flagship packs a sensational naturally aspirated 5.2-litre V10 producing 612bhp distributed to all four wheels. Even if Audi ever dared to bring back the R8, it would undoubtedly be an electric, hence this is indeed a paradigm shift. One, that we saw coming but weren’t prepared for.

Farewell, you humble beast. 

TopGear Magazine Annual Issue 2024