8 Things to Know Now the Audi R8 Era Is Over


Audi’s original supercar has reached the end of the road. Despite a flurry of last-minute demand and a stay of execution which saw production continue into 2024, the final R8 has now been assembled.

The very last R8 (above) is a Vegas Yellow Performance Quattro Edition with a carbon fiber exterior package and 20-inch alloy wheels, and you’ll be able to see it in the firm’s museum, displayed just as valuable treasure should be.

As the R in R8 starts to stand for “relic,” let’s take a look back at this awesome Audi and what makes it a sure-fire classic of the future.

The Concept Car Made Real

Audi Le Mans quattro

When it was first introduced at the Paris Auto Show in September 2006, the R8 was a remarkably faithful production version of the Le Mans quattro show car Audi had revealed three years earlier to celebrate three wins on the trot at the famous French 24 hour race. There were subtle changes to the styling, and, in place of the Le Mans quattro’s twin-turbo V-10 engine was a 4.2-liter, 420-hp V-8. The all-aluminum spaceframe chassis was retained, but the bodywork was sculpted in aluminum rather than carbon fiber. Aside from being the German marque’s first supercar, the R8 also became the first production car to feature slimline LED headlights. What’s more, it was built by Audi Sport, the firm’s motor racing division, rather than on a main production line.

Audi R8 2006
Lamborghini Gallardo LP510-4 2003 front tracking 4

The Le Mans quattro was heavily based on the Lamborghini Gallardo, and so was the production R8. That link became even tighter in 2008 when Audi introduced a 5.2-liter V-10—the same motor that powered the Lambo. In V-10 form, the R8 featured a revised rear bumper to accommodate twin exhausts (down from the four of the V-8), further cooling vents were added, and 19-inch wheels came as standard. Of more importance, though, was the near 100-hp increase in power.

Iterative Improvements

Audi R8 spyder

In 2009, Audi removed the roof of the R8 to create the Spyder. Initially only available in V-10 guise, Audi soon added a lighter, keener-priced V-8 as well. 2011 saw the introduction of the GT, now offering 560 hp from its ten-cylinder mill, while also cutting weight with lighter seats, thinner windscreen glass and a carbon engine cover.

The R8’s first facelift came in 2012, installing a sharper front end and significantly revised interior. These improvements kept the R8 rolling until 2015 when a true second-generation car was launched. Now sharing its platform with the Lamborghini Huracan, it offered a significant hike in power. In V10 Plus trim, the 610-hp R8 could reach 60 mph in just 2.9 seconds and top 200 mph for the first time. Audi made major changes to modernize the decade-old design while still retaining the car’s unique character.

The next, and perhaps most significant update in the R8’s history came when Audi dropped its trademark quattro all-wheel drive system to create the RWS. Powered by a 540-hp version of the V-10 and driving the rear wheels only via a seven-speed S-Tronic automatic, it was lighter and more leery than any R8 before. A final facelift came in 2018, with some styling tweaks and even more oomph—up to 633 hp.

The Silver Screen Star

The R8 is synonymous with Tony Stark thanks to its appearance in no less than six movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Robert Downey Jr. first drove a V-8 in Iron Man, then a V-10 Spyder in Iron Man 2, a prototype e-tron (see below) in Iron Man 3, a V10 Plus in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War, and, appropriately, a Spyder in Spider-Man: Homecoming.

The Electric Icon

Audi R8 e-tron

Audi first teased an all-electric R8 in 2010, but it would take a further five years before the car made it into very limited production. Its stats were impressive, with 340 kw (462 hp) available to dispatch the 0-62 mph sprint in 3.9 seconds and a claimed range of 280 miles on a full charge. However, with a $1M price tag, only the likes of Tony Stark could afford one, and less than 100 were sold.

The Driver’s Car

The R8 has received high praise in every iteration, not least by Hagerty’s own correspondents.

“This original V-8 is just so good. Arguably Audi never improved upon it. Whether V-8 or V-10 these have always been just fabulous,” says Henry Catchpole after taking the wheel of one of the last R8 GT RWD.

“The R8 is glorious, and when it’s gone, so will be the era of the free-breathing, big-engine exotic. And the world will be a less wild place for it,” adds Aaron Robinson after driving the R8 Performance.

Catchpole reckons the early models featured “the best open-gated manual ever produced.” “It really stole Ferrari’s thunder, it’s just so slick,” he remarks.

A Fast Car with Slow Sales

Audi R8 V10 GT RWD exterior wheel and front end detail

Despite the plaudits and the performance, the R8 has never really troubled its Italian rivals. In 16 years just 30,000 or so examples found owners. At its best the R8 sold 5016 units in 2008, and, at its worst in 2022, just 1068. Compare that to the 3962 Huracans sold in 2023 and it’s not so surprising that Audi has thrown in the towel.

The Future Classic

Audi R8 value infographic
Neil Jamieson

The end of the R8 era could be good news for existing owners, however. We singled the car out in our 2023 Bull Market, noting, “All generations of enthusiasts appreciate the R8, and interest is growing. Insurance policy growth is more than three times faster than the Hagerty average over the past five years. Lookups on Hagerty Valuation Tools have doubled in the past 12 months, and they lead lookups for the similar Lamborghini Gallardo. R8 values are up 37 percent since 2019, and with growing demand, further appreciation is likely.”

“With supercar performance paired with the liveability of a daily driver, the Audi R8 might just be the collector car to have if you could only have one. Leave it to the Germans to make the perfect Italian car.”

“I’d anticipate that over time the purity and clarity of the original vision and the sweetness of the driving experience will become ever more highly coveted as we move into an era of electrified and increasingly automated transport,” adds Andrew Frankel.

Last Audi R8


Check out the Hagerty Media homepage so you don’t miss a single story, or better yet, bookmark it. To get our best stories delivered right to your inbox, subscribe to our newsletters.

Click below for more about
Read next Up next: Auction Pick of the Week: 1956 Continental Mark II


    Great car if with low miles. It is the affordable Lambo.

    If it is near 100k walk away. Repairs will kill you.

    What a shame. Every great car we know is either being converted to electricity or killed off entirely.
    Sometimes I don’t know which one is better.
    Long live the Audi R8! Long live the ICE!

    Sad to see the na V8 and v10 are going away. I never liked the side blade thing they did but otherwise it’s a nice car.

    Overall design problem – but not the various engines. Too small a car without long flowing lines. Cute, but not aggressive enough.

    “Supercar” is really a stretch, especially for the V8 version. I appreciate Audi making a (relatively) low production car, but the styling never worked for me. The front end somehow lacked the volume to flow with the rear of the car.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *