Audi Steals BMW i8's Thunder with New R8 LMX, World's First Production Car with Laser Beams

Beam us up Audi! As with so many other technologies that we take for granted today, in a few years from now, laser lighting tech will be something you’ll find on most mainstream cars, but for the time being, it’s a fresh commodity and one that has rivaling German carmakers BMW and Audi vying to be the first to release it to the public.

In February, BMW said the i8 will be the first production car in the world to offer laser headlights starting from this fall. Now, Audi couldn’t have that, so it created a special limited edition of the soon-to-be replaced R8 sports car dubbed LMX for this purpose, claiming that it will be the world’s first production car with laser high beams, since it will go on sale earlier this summer….

Audi says the laser spot for the high beams increases the range substantially and works together with their new Matrix LED headlights. We’ll let Audi explain the technical details below:

“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,” reads the German automaker’s press statement.

“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 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.”

“The laser spot, which is active at speeds of 60 km/h (37.3 mph) 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 exclude them,” explains Audi.

Besides the laser-tech beams, the special edition R8 LMX uses a tuned version of the brand’s 5.2-liter V10 that produces 570PS (562hp) and 540 Nm (398.3 lb‑ft) of torque, up from 550PS (442hp) of the existing Plus V10 model and 525PS (518hp) of the base V10 version. The uprated V10 is paired to a standard seven‑speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission and quattro all-wheel drive.

Audi quotes a 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) time of 3.4 seconds, a top speed of 320 km/h (199 mph), and average consumption of 12.9 l/100km (18.2 mpg US) with 299 grams of CO2 per kilometer.

The LMX comes in an Audi exclusive customized paint finish named Ara Blue and features 19-inch wheels shod in 235/35 R 19 tires up front and 305/30 R 19 tires at the rear, combined with carbon‑fiber ceramic brake discs.

It also gets a carbon fiber package with a fixed rear spoiler front spoiler lip, front bumper flics on the sides, exterior mirror housings, sideblades, rear diffuser and engine compartment cover, while the air inlet grilles on both ends are finished in titanium gray and the tail pipes in high-gloss black.

Inside, Audi fitted the R8 LMX special with Nappa leather bucket seats featuring a Sepang Blue diamond pattern and Ara Blue backrests, Sepang Blue stitching on the dash, door panels, steering wheel and handbrake, matte carbon trim accents, illuminated aluminum inlays and floor mats with black piping and Sepang Blue stitching.

Only 99 examples of the R8 LMX will be made, each carrying a base price of €210,000 (equal to US$289,000) in Germany. Audi didn’t say if, when and how much it will ask for the special edition in other countries.

By John Halas

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