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It's finally the end of the road for the much-loved Audi R8

The model offered big thrills in a package you could use daily.
The model offered big thrills in a package you could use daily.
Image: SUPPLIED

It’s official. The Audi R8 is being sent out to pasture in 2024. In a ceremonial move, the model will this week take its final lap around the Laguna Seca Raceway during the annual Monterey Car Week.

The event kicked off on August 11 and concludes with The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the main feature of Monterey Car Week that sees the planet’s most valuable collector vehicles converge.

The R8 debuted back in 2007 as the brand unashamedly entered the sports car niche for the first time. Powered by a mid-engined 4.2l V8 engine with quattro all-wheel drive underpinnings framed by a two-seat, lightweight aluminium spaceframe body, it offered Porsche, Lamborghini and Ferrari rivalling sensations but in a package refined for daily use, and cheaper to buy. 

Sensibility was achieved through easy egress into a cabin with great ergonomics, and it was an easy drive even in gated six-speed manual guise. An auto was also available, as was a Spyder version. In 2008 a model brandishing the 5.2l V10 engine used in the Lamborghini Gallardo debuted. Soon after, hotter R8 GT spin-offs were added, as well as motorsport-grade R8 GT3 versions.

The first-gen R8 was available in small batch e-tron flavour.
The first-gen R8 was available in small batch e-tron flavour.
Image: NEWSPRESS UK

The second-generation Audi R8 arrived in coupe form in 2015. It continued the practical thoroughbred with more refinement and the V10 engine was enhanced for more performance. Audi dropped the V8 engine and stick shift and introduced hotter V10 Plus coupe and Spyder versions. 

Experimentation was also seen in 2015 with the arrival of a small batch R8 e-tron powered by a 92kWh battery. A rear-wheel-drive model called the R8 RWS was also introduced, and in 2018 the R8 received a mid-cycle refresh with mechanical and more aggressive exterior changes. In 2023 the R8 GT with a limited production of 333 units debuted.

As an ode to the R8’s motorsports legacy, each R8 at Monterey Car Week will debut a unique individual vehicle wrap. Created by Frank Lamberty, the exterior designer of the first-generation Audi R8, the wrap features a split motif that starts as an ordinary road car at the front and fades to a design inspired by liveries found on the R8 GT3 race cars.

Audi SA confirms the existing stock is in run-out phase. If you are contemplating, now is the time to buy.


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