Back in 2003, Audi awed spectators at the Frankfurt Motor Show with its LeMans Quattro concept car. Audi’s management decided to go ahead with a production version in order to give Audi a high-performance sports car to compete with the Porsche 911.
Now these latest photos capture a test prototype undergoing road testing in the Black Forest in Germany. The minimal disguise on the car, just a few bits of black tape on the headlights, some red tape on the tail give a clear view of what the production model will look like.
Overall design is nearly unchanged from the dramatic LeMans Quattro concept. The most noticeable difference is that the concept car’s futuristic LED headlights have been replaced by more conventional projector-beam lights, although the overall shape of the headlight area is the same. There is also some very minor reshaping of the grille, hood, and lower spoiler area in front. At the rear, the big change is the quad round tail-pipes, two on each side, instead of the concept vehicle’s twin pipes in the middle. The area around the license plate has also been subtly reshaped, although once again, the overall design is still intact.
The new sports car will not be called the LeMans, a name already used by Pontiac many years ago, but instead will stick with Audi’s typical alpha-numeric names and will be the R8. It is expected to go into production late this year, and will be launched in early 2007.