Far be it for me to tell others what to do. Whenever I look at any kind of car, and think that I have any kind of criticism to level, I remember that there are actual people who have studied for a large portion of their life to do the job of bringing that car from sketch to road.
Having worked in various jobs and roles over the course of a couple decades, I have come to the conclusion that literally every job in the world is basically being paid to do something that everyone else seemingly knows how to do better than you.
So it is with great humility that I offer these words, in full knowledge that I am appearing like that jaded old band follower, stupidly telling the musicians that their later work is rubbish compared to the original tunes that had initially got them on board the wagon. Sure, it might come from a place of love, but it would ultimately reveal how much of an entitled tit I really am.
A previous piece I wrote once asked the question of whether a supercar can "fly under the radar". In this article, I cited a claim where the original Audi R8 was a bit of a sleeper; a supercar invisible to all but the more discerning eye. It's a claim with which I share some agreement, but to prove that I am a character of complexity, I will now boldly take that stance and fly in the other direction.
Because it is the unique appearance of the original Audi R8 that makes it more preferable to me over the current model. It was more distinctive.
Also, the original R8 allowed the choice of one of these.
Photo by Dennis Eusebio (@thoughtandtheory) on Unsplash - glorious, glorious manual.
There is a certain understated style about the original R8 that didn't shout about its intentions, especially when compared to its sibling in the Lamborghini Gallardo. It was the successful entrepreneur, contrasted with it's musician wannabe sibling. One ostentatious with a loud voice and wild hair, and the other the quiet achiever, just doing its thing.
Yet, there were some trademark flourishes on the bodywork that would make a bit of a cheeky statement of boldness. There were additions to the car that showed that there was, lurking beneath the formal exterior, a bit of fun still to be had.
Yes, I am describing those side blades that ran adjacent to the doors.
Photo by Axel Eres (@axeleres) on Unsplash
At the time, the side blades were notable, although weren't widely applauded. They were unique, and over time I feel that there has been bit of disappointment that Audi did away with the panels in favour of a more traditional supercar look. Sadly, I feel that the removal of the feature has only really deleted what could have been a signature stylistic stamp on their halo car.
It was something would have gave it that more stated distinction between it and what could arguably be described as a slightly more aggressive Audi TT.
Just look at the angular intakes and vents at the front of the newer model, when compared with the larger, more gradual black highlights on the original R8. One appears more integrated, whereas the other appears to be donning what it thinks looks cool.
For another example of more innovative traits of the R8, those LED daytime running lights were pioneering, effectively popularising the headlight cluster that all modern vehicles are now employing. Every maker out there is now embedding bright white LEDs into their headlamps, and it was arguably the R8 that started it all.
So, if I were to decide on having an R8, I would be choosing the iconic original model over the more recent cars - if I can find a manual one that hasn't been driven like a madman.
The only thing that could potentially sway my opinion were if Audi were to offer a rear-wheel drive variant across their R8 range. One of the sticking points I had with the original, and the successors to the original R8, was that I felt the quattro all-wheel drive system removed some of the "purity" of the drive. Had it been rear-wheel drive, I feel it would have ticked all the boxes and becoming my own personal motoring perfection.
If only they offered rear-wheel drive as an option instead of a one-off.
Audi R8; RWD version
Well, dang. That changes everything.