Audi is going to have to seriously rethink the names it gives its cars. The brusque single – or, if they were really excited, double – letter prefix, single number suffix system worked well with that whole Bauhaus-functional-Herman thing they had going on there for the past couple of decades, but, having tried the slinky-louche S5 the other week, and now the simply astonishing mid-engined Ferrari-slayer, the R8, this week, I think the company has some nomenclature issues.
How can you call a car as staggering as this something as prosaic as R8? That might work as the plumbing-supplies catalogue code for a grommet, but this is the car Audi built to take on the Porsche 911. It can reach 60mph in a sneeze. It has 210 LED lights. At night the glass-covered engine is extravagantly fetishised with its own floodlighting. It looks like a contestant from Robot Wars. This is the car Iron Man drives, for heaven sakes! And the best they can come up with is R8? No, no, no, that won't do at all. We need something much more thrusting, more dramatic. What about "Phallic Galaxy Blaster", say, or the Audi "Nuclear Rodeo"? "The Impregnator"?
If you get the impression I am a little overexcited about this car, you'd be right. I love everything about it – looks, performance, smell, vibe, door handles. True, at the very margins of perception I could imagine it might lack the poise of a 911 – even I can feel that the brakes aren't quite as tippy-toe delicate as a Turbo's. And by giving it a rifle-bolt aluminium open-gate gear stick surround, the Germans have shown too much craven mimicking respect for their Italian rivals. But at least they have resisted giving it that fashionable yet redundant absurdity, a starter button.
Some have suggested it is the love-child of Lamborghini, but Bugatti really ought to think about a paternity test because it has the definite whiff of a baby Veyron about it too.
And if you think this one is radical, just you wait. Last year my usually impeccably informed better, Mr Simister, suggested there was "no chance" of a diesel R8, but just such a flabbergasting automobile is in the pipeline, with, Lord preserve us, a V12. So, there is no time to lose. We have got to come up with a new name. Hold, on. I think I have it: how about the Audi Grrr-8?Reuse content