2014 Audi R8 LMX debuts as world’s first production car equipped with laser high beams

Article by Andrew Christian, on May 9, 2014

Audi is working hard on the next-generation R8, which means that the German carmaker is preparing to end the production of the current model. But before stopping production, Audi has unveiled the R8 LMX, world’s first production car equipped with laser high beams. This comes as a total surprise as BMW was supposed to be the first company to introduce the laser high beams on its i8 this autumn.

As you may know already the Bavarian company was mocking Audi when the German carmaker unveiled their Sport Quattro Laserlight Concept earlier this year at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, saying that if they wanted to show their concept car equipped with laser high beams they had to bring their laserlight concept from 2011.

Today, Audi won the game as their R8 LMX is already available for order and will hit the streets this summer with a price tag of 210,000 euros. After introducing the Matrix LED headlights on the updated Audi A8 in 2013, the German brand with the four rings gets to the next stage with the R8 LMX, the laser spot for the high beams.

The first vehicle to use the combination of LED and laser high beams will be the Audi R18 e-tron Quattro at the 2014 Hours of Le Mans on June 14 and 15.

According to Audi, the laser high beams generate twice the range of the all-LED headlight. With a diameter of just 300 micrometers, these generate a blue laser beam with a wavelength of 450 nanometers. A phosphor converter transforms this into roadworthy white light with a color temperature of 5,500 Kelvin – ideal conditions for the human eye that enable the driver to recognize contrast more easily and help prevent fatigue.

Audi says that the laser spot is active at speeds of 60 km/h (37.3 mph) and above and successfully supplements the LED high beam in the R8 LMX. Powering the Audi R8 LMX is a 5.2-liter V10 engine that delivers 570 hp (419 kW) and 540 Nm (393 lb-ft) of torque. Bolted to seven-speed S tronic gearbox that transfers the power to the Quattro permanent all-wheel drive system, the R8 LMX hits 100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.4 seconds, while top speed is electronically limited at 320 km/h or 200 mph.

Despite these performances, average fuel consumption is 12.9 liters/100 km (299 g/km of CO2). The R8 LMX comes with 19-inch wheels that hide the carbon-fiber ceramic brake discs (380 mm on the fron), underlined by the red anodized brake calipers.

The Audi R8 LMX is highlighted by the Ara Blue paint finish, with crystal effect, developed by Audi exclusive. Moreover, there is a fixed carbon fiber rear spoiler, while the front features flics on the sides. In addition, the R8 LMX come with carbon fiber engine compartment cover, exterior mirror housings, sideblades, rear wing and diffuser.

Meanwhile, the Singleframe grille, the air inlet grilles up front and the outlet grille at the rear are finished in titanium gray. The sport exhaust system features high-gloss black tailpipes. Inside, the sport bucket seats are wrapped in Fine Nappa leather with Sepang Blue diamond pattern, while the backrest covers are finished in Ara Blue.

Other highlights of the interior are the matte carbon used on the covers of the center tunnel console and the parking brake lever, on the inlays in the doors and the arc around the cockpit.

Press Release

World first - Laser lights as standard for new Audi R8 LMX

A new limited edition LMX version of the Audi R8 will not only be the most powerful roadgoing iteration of the super sports car ever made, but will also be notable as the first production car to adopt laser high beam lighting as standard. The new 570PS, 198mph R8 LMX will make its UK public debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and will become available to order at the same time priced from £160,000 OTR. UK deliveries will begin in the autumn.

The Audi R8 LMX is based on the acclaimed V10 plus model with its high-revving, mid mounted ten-cylinder engine, double wishbone suspension and ASF (Audi Space Frame) aluminium body. It will be available exclusively as a coupe with a production run limited to 99 vehicles, and with 540 Nm of torque to complement its 570PS output will be capable of rocketing to 62mph from rest in just 3.4 seconds before topping out at 198mph.

A compact, seven speed S tronic transmission transfers the power to the quattro permanent all wheel drive system, which distributes it judiciously to racing-inspired 19 inch, 20-spoke wheels shod with tyres with 215mm front and 305mm rear widths. These conceal carbon fibre ceramic brake discs with red anodised calipers measuring 380 mm in diameter at the front.

The light emitted by laser beams before they pass through a phosphor converter is blue, and this has inspired an Audi exclusive Ara Blue, crystal effect customised paint finish for the new R8 LMX. If preferred, it can also be ordered with Daytona Grey matt effect or Mythos Black, metallic paint finishes.

The new flagship model is also marked out by a large, fixed rear spoiler for increased downforce on the rear axle, and by additional use of carbon fibre-reinforced polymer (CFRP) for the front spoiler lip, side flics, engine compartment cover, exterior mirror housings, sideblades, rear wing and diffuser. The Singleframe grille and front air intakes and the outlet grille at the rear are finished in titanium grey, while the sports exhaust system features high-gloss black tailpipes.

Blue accents continue the theme in the interior with its bucket seats upholstered in Fine Nappa leather and finished with Sepang Blue diamond stitching and backrest covers in Ara Blue. Sepang Blue diamond stitching also adds contrast in the Alcantara headlining and black Fine Nappa leather door trim panels, and the colour is also sewn into the edges of the parking brake lever, centre tunnel console, steering wheel and instrument cowl.

The list of subtle details marking out this exclusive model also includes matt carbon covers for the centre tunnel console and parking brake lever, the inlays in the doors and the arc around the cockpit, and illuminated aluminium inlays bearing the limited-edition number integrated into the CFRP door sill trims. Fine Nappa leather adorns the selector lever for the S tronic and the knee pads, and the floor mats have black piping and Sepang Blue stitching.

Revolutionary laser high beam lighting

In 2008, the Audi R8 became the first production car in the world to feature all LED headlights; this was followed in 2012 by dynamic indicators with a unique sweeping action. Audi launched a new chapter in automotive lighting with the Matrix LED headlights, which debuted in the updated A8 in 2013. Now the brand with the four rings is progressing to the next stage in the R8 LMX: the laser spot for the high beams. It increases the illumination range substantially, which is ideal for a supercar like the R8 LMX.
Audi engineers work very closely with their racing colleagues on the development of lighting technologies. The combination of LED and laser high beams, for example, will be used for the first time on the new Audi R18 e tron quattro at the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 14 and 15. The premium brand is thus continuing its tradition of using racing to test new technologies destined for production.

“Audi has long dominated the most important 24-hour race. In addition to the outstanding TDI drive technology, a maximum light yield gives our pilots a major advantage, and with night racing in particular is a key factor to our success,” says Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg. “The transfer of the laser headlight to the Audi R8 LMX underscores our leading position in lighting technology. The safety benefit this provides to the customer truly represents Vorsprung durch Technik,” says AUDI AG’s Board Member for Development.

With the new laser high beams, one laser module per headlight 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 micrometers, these generate a blue laser beam with a wavelength of 450 nanometers. A phosphor converter transforms this into roadworthy white light with a colour temperature of 5,500 Kelvin – ideal conditions for the human eye that enable the driver to recognise contrast more easily and help prevent fatigue. The laser spot, which is active at speeds of 37mph and above, supplements the LED high beam in the R8 LMX and greatly enhances visibility and safety. An intelligent camera based sensor system detects other road users and actively adjusts the light pattern to avoid dazzle.

Topics: audi, audi r8, coupe

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