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R8 at NY Auto Show (long and rantful - sorry!)

Browsed the NY Auto Show this week, mainly to get another look at the R8. I was hoping to see a US spec car (with US available equipment) and instead they had a fully loaded model with all known options including a custom carbon fiber luggage set! (I took some pictures, but they're nothing that everyone hasn't already seen). Interestingly, the specification sign next to the car proudly displayed the US $118,000 base price (for the R-tronic model, nothing about the manual's $109k base) and listed the known abbreviated US options and pricing. The only disclaimer regarding the actual model being displayed with $20k+ in carbon fiber options and ceramic brakes alone was "European model shown". I'm sure most people who saw this R8 assumed they were looking at the car as equipped for about $118k, not $150k.

It was also interesting to see the R8 among the rest of the Audi line, as it will be displayed someday in dealer showrooms. As much as I am a fan of the R8, my honest impression was Audi sure makes a lot of very nice cars for $50k to $60k - why is this model over twice as expensive again? Hell, you could spec out their S8 flagship (with the Lambo V10 NOW) and add lots of pricy options including a $6300 (!) version of the B&O sound system and STILL walk away with enough change from your R8 money to pay for gas and insurance for probably as long as you'll own it! Maybe if they had at least stroked (or bored) the $66k RS4's V8 out to 4.5L and 450HP or so…and knowing there's a "better" (V10) version right around the corner doesn't help either.

The show also gave me a chance to see some stunning cars from high-end manufacturer's in the price range AoA has "selected" for the R8, such as the A-M V8 Vantage, MB SL55, Maserati GranTurismo, even the Jag XKR looked great at around $85k. (The Porsche display was not impressive showing base models with non-metallic paint and poor lighting and the '08 Cayennes). Also got to directly compare the Gallardo with the R8 and I'm afraid…the Gallardo does "work" better for me. The cab-forward layout required by this chassis looks more stubby with the R8's design versus the Gallardo's laid back angular sheetmetal and windshield. On the otherhand that particular Gallardo was some crazy track-tuned model listing for $220k! OK, I still like the R8 but it does seem overpriced for an Audi and there ARE plenty of comparable (or better) cars from more "prestigious" manufacturers available.

Now my FINAL rant about US pricing: AoA has obviously chosen to be more aggressive (against) us with their pricing then either Porsche or their own high-end models such as the RS4. Ignoring the crazy UK VAT and exchange rate (almost 2:1!) and instead looking at actual vehicle pricing ratios, using the Porsche C4S as an example, the R8 should start at $97k, using the Audi RS4 I get $104k. These prices DO take into account the value of the additional options we get in the US. And look at the differential for the R-tronic, it should be between $6,400 and $6,900. Instead, Audi is apparently asking MORE than the 2:1 exchange rate (which would be $8850) and is charging $9000, only $1000 off Lambo's exotic pricing for e-gear! This results in the R8 starting between $5k and 12k more than it should, and the R-tronic another $2k+ above that.

Audi may not be gouging it's US customers by letting its dealers charge over MSRP, they've built it into the MSRP!
 

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Can't really disagree with you, the pricing is a bit high. I don't see how the 911 turbo and GT3 can be ignored at the price Audi specified. I mean the R-tronic has a 12k higher base than the GT3!

Still is a hell of a car, but they priced themselves to compete with porsche's best.
 

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in the uk my spec r8 is just over 90k sterling nowif the exchange rate to the doller probably be about 170k usd so lets face it your getting a cheaper car than us if you compere this to gallardo which is 137k sterling i think r8 is big saving
 

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in the uk my spec r8 is just over 90k sterling nowif the exchange rate to the doller probably be about 170k usd so lets face it your getting a cheaper car than us if you compere this to gallardo which is 137k sterling i think r8 is big saving
You can't really do a comparison like that because different markets have different pricing. They are going to sell most of their cars in the US anyway. It seems cheap in comparison to what you pay but it seems expensive in comparison so already established pricing in the US.
 

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dont forget the "artificial" exclusivity created by audi through its manufactural handmade processes... I cant say that there are alot of brands in switzerland which will only bring approx 100 cars the first year into the country.. and if you would want to have one NOW, you would need to wait till 2009... thats also a reason to spec the price higher then some other VERY VERY good cars... but ofcourse, i cant disagree with 996TT.. maybe we will sell our R8 once and get the brand new 2009S8 or similar for the money ;) :)
 

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I agree that Audi has priced the car $10K too high in the US, and the premium for the R-tronic is excessive. I don't know how in the long run they can sell these against the high end of the Porsche line either.

The R-tronic needs to be $125K fully loaded. They will sell the first bunch at where they want to the hungry few, but a year from now, who knows? There are a lot of tempting cars once you hit $125K. Once you cross $135K you can start thinking used 360 Ferrari.

It seems clear that Audi's pencils are very, very sharp and they have priced this car to leave not a nickel on the table.
 

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I'm starting to think that they've priced it way too high in the UK too. This sector is becoming more competitive both in terms of the range of choice and the quality of cars available for the money. Rather worried what a used R8 will fetch in a couple of years when I come to sell. :(
 

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I think you all are nuts!

Maybe some of you should start your own car company and hand build an aircraft grade aluminum spaceframe car that is awd, midengine, that can go all out on a race track and make you feel like a hero and then be civil/comfortable enough to go for a long drive to your mountain home, will likely have the same sort of necessary maintenance as most 'normal euro cars'...... blah blah blah.

Sure the 911Turbo handles alot of the above but it aint the R8 either.
Same for the GT3, looks like it is now even better on the track and a huge amount better as a DD.
V8 Vantage? a more gorgeouser car has never been built. But as driving tool? Not in the same league as any P car, F car, R8, etc imho.


I THINK that for people to post 'Audi has definitely overpriced this car...' type crap on the internet are as silly as me posting a response, just plain lame.

You get your rant, this was mine.
I'm not recommending that people should overlook the competition, but i would think that the R8 competes amazingly well with quite a few cars out there up and down a pretty large dollar range. This car is a true 'all arounder', i think its just going to do everything amazingly well, while not 'dominating' any one thing.

Flame proof jammies are on.
 

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Yes, it will be a very capable car, but it's still an Audi Badge. I understand what your saying BSR, but at the end of the day, IMO I don't think Audi has enough brand equity as say Ferrari, Aston or Porsche. Therefore it should be priced accordingly and not based on how much it would cost to make.

As soon as I mention I paid $300k for an Audi people think I'm crazy, but if I said I paid $300k for a Porsche/Ferrari they'd say WOW, which one? The market instantly recognises the value in a brand, I don't think Audi is quite there yet...
 

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its more than just the badge - many have already commented on how the R8 carries parts from other mainstream stock i.e. most of the interior (a bad thing) and a few out there still see this as an Audified Gallardo (a good thing or a bad thing depending on your point of view?)

My other concern is that the R8 bandwagon has already been out there so long that by the time we get our cars it wont be that 'special' but still be carrying a 'special' price and new and more interesting metal will be in the pipeline.

I think we all agree the R8 is a very good car but not at any price!
 

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BSR, I understand your points and am glad you offer them. But we are not whiners, we are realists.

The fact that the R8 shares it's interior design with $50K cars does not increase its exclusivity. Neither does the fact that it is aluminum, as others in the line are also. Still not the AWD as the rest of Audi shares that too. The engine is not exclusive either. Nor is non-DSG R-tronic.

It can be argued in fact that except for the space frame the R8 is just a product of Audi parts bins engineering and re-using existing technology. There is nothing wrong with that but it makes it hard to be really exclusive.

In terms of competing with the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, it is better to be a $125K car sharing pieces and design with $175K (and soon $250K) cars than a $125K car sharing pieces with $50K cars.

In terms of the Porsche line, MSRP on a fully loaded 911 Tubo is $135. You can get a fully loaded-to-the gills Carrera 911 4S for $105K MSRP. That car has always been and remains the primary target for the R8. It is worth maybe $10K more than that, but not $20K or $30K more. I don't think Audi can position themselves above Porche, BMW "M" or Mercedes AMG. The R8 is a sports car, not a super car.

In terms of most of us complaining about the price (myself included) I would point out that we are all here on this board because we are Audi fans and freaks of the highest order. We are favorably biased more than anyone toward the brand. For example, I just bought my wife a Q7.

If Audi is having trouble convincing us that the car is fairly priced think how bad it is with the rest of the car buying public.

The early cars will have a premium, just like the Aston V8 did last year. But one year later you will be able to buy a fresh one for slightly under sticker and last years early cars for 10% less than that.

Anybody who speculates and buys this car to park and sell as opposed to drive will get burned.
 

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nice summary, but i would add:
the R8 is the only production sports car below $240,000 to combine mid-engine and four-wheel drive... that and the low production could cause this car to hold its value very well- even at the elevated prices. the low production is the key, imo- if its kept low it will likely hold its value well. if they start cranking them out so that there are as many r8s as 911s, then it would not likely hold its value.
 

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Well said. There really isn't anything NEW about the R8 apart from the exterior styling and mid-engine concept. Can I add the wheels are borrowed from the RS4 and the Magnetic Ride from the TT. The RED LCD Driver Information System was also borrowed from a 1999 A4 (Audi hang your head in shame...)

I will still purchase the R8 when it arrives, but I am certain, I will do my a_ss on it, in terms of re-sale value. Maybe I'm just a sucker for punishment! :(
 

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wheels are different from rs4 i know this cause i have an rs4 magnetic ride yes similar if not the same but these are also used on the new ferrai 599 so can't be that bad red lcd screen agree with you all the way
 

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bz888- sounds like a mental block on your end!:) But seriously, where should Audi start? What you are saying is the biggest single problem that Audi has (in the States at least) -perception. I'm heavily biased as i have been an 'audi person' for quite a while now and have been an Audi salesperson for 3.5 years.
If someone has opportunity to see touch, feel and maybe even drive this car- they could see the merits of this car and any lingering perception that Audi shouldnt play in these waters will fly out the window as fast as a 997TurboTiptronic from a hard launch. This perception is a huge reason for the existence of the R8.

geffers- Please tell me you've been in an R8! and you felt it wasnt an awesome place to be! Yes, there are bits that are the same up and down the Audi line- and that in itself is good for Audi. (someone could get to sit in an R8 and then a TT an see a few items of the switch gear are the same and that should/could help that person make a decision to buy that car)

AudiAddict- I suppose those Murcielago and Gallardo owners are feeling horrible about their interiors!:D Sharing interior bits with lowly Audis!
Not exclusive in it's use of aluminum? How about that only Ferrari, Lambo, and Audi are build a true space frame car? (no body panels on these cars are 'structural supporting pieces') How about the grade of aluminum used by the same 3 brands compared to others out there using aluminum? This car is the real deal in its construction (nearly all hand built, painted by robots, glass is installed w/ out gaskets by robots). How about Audi makes aluminum bits and pieces for other car makers........bmw,etc.
This 'parts bin' car tag is interesting, i agree up to a point. Front suspesion? all new. Rear suspension? taken from Ga'rdo and tweaked, and the Lambo will get those tweaks coming up. Engineering the space frame for this car- i'm not thinking this should be taken lightly- i'm sure it wasnt hammered out in an afternoon. Engine? Yup- not a bad part to lift from the bin. Tubular headers ,twin throttle bodies, air intakes/boxes, trumpet style intake runners, dry sump lubrication, etc.
AstonMartin? i was just extremely fortunate to drive one right before driving the R8 for the first time.... great sound, good power, and it felt like i was driving something that was made out of a dozen loosely connected chunks of car, seriously.
Porsche- absolutely excellent choices up and down the line. I do think that the existence of the R8 does make every 911 a tiny little bit less special looking. As for pricing, its also true that a C4S can bust past $120 with a few clicked boxes, pretty close to Turbo pricing- the last one i saw was 133k- which isnt chump change- but pretty much regarded as a bargain.
Audi cant be positioned above MB and BMW? Track down the latest (or close to it) Roundel magazine and see what their editor said of the R8. Merc and BMW do not have a car like the R8. They have fantastic cars, just nothing that is what the R8 is. (those MB SLR's are sure flying off the shelves :eek: )

This week i expect to get quite a few more calls from people all over the States asking about the R8, 'can i get one? can i get one this year? how many are you going to get? How much above msrp are you asking? (answer is none) can i be on your list?' etc, etc. I respect the fact that you arent convinced of the value of the R8, but i would guess that you might change your mind a bit if you get some quality time with an R8 (if you havent already, you may need to switch to caffeinated coffee!;) )

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just another 35cents from me.
RB
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BSR

I can tell you that I've sat in two R8s now and from the standard cloth headliner to the Q7 dials to the TT seats to the rough grey micrometallic dash finish to the A3 display etc etc it wasnt an awesome place to be. The interior has imo always been the most diappointing aspect of this car although I have grown to like it a little more. I still want one dont get me wrong but think its a shame that Audi didnt spend as much time, money and imagination on this part of the car as they have elsewhere.
 

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TIME OUT!!!!

:)

All the R8's that were in Phoenix for training (all pre production) had fabulous interiors, i sat in them all. Alcantara headliners in all, beautiful leather seats and excellent materials everywhere, etc. I'm at a loss to what you've seen.

But, this is also part of Audi's plan to have some carry over into other cars in the line up. This gives someone who is looking at 'lesser' Audis a chance to say "thats the same piece in the R8." I can understand one's want to have a totally unique interior in this car though.

For fun, everyone go out and sit in a Bently Conti GT and have a look at the switch gear, etc. Pretty 'common' stuff in there.

RB
 

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If Audi wanted this car to be really top-of-the-line and special then they should have done the following:

1) Taken the engine to 4.5 or 4.7 L instead of what can be had in the RS4, etc.
2) Made the extended/premium leather standard.
3) Made the Bose standard instead of upcharging you for it.
4) Put in a state-of-the-art DSG transmission (after all, they managed that for the Bugatti) instead of the reworked R-tronic that nobody wants.

Then they could gone out at $135K and have made a statement.
 
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