Hey BMW i8, you think you're so great with your laser beam headlamps? Well, the Audi R8 is about to do it too! How do you like them apples?
Audi today announced the launch of the R8 LMX, a limited edition run of their supercar equipped with the world's first laser high beams on a production car. That's what they claim, anyway; the i8 also has laser high beams, so I'm trying to figure out why Audi thinks they're doing it first.
(Update: It's because this car will hit enter series production and hit the streets before the i8 does, according to Audi. So that's why.)
The R8 was the first car to use all-LED headlamps back in 2008, and then they were upgraded to Matrix LEDs last year. This is the next step in their ongoing War Against Nighttime.
The technology comes from racing, where a combination of LEDs and laser high beams will be used on the Audi R18 e‑tron quattro at this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The advantage of laser high beams is that they are much more powerful than conventional lights or LEDS. Audi says that 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 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.
In layman's terms, it's bright as all get-out. Turning the high beams on in the R8 LMX will be like standing next to the sun.
What else do you get when you opt for the LMX? The V10 engine with 570 horsepower, a seven‑speed S tronic gearbox, exclusive crystal blue paint, a sport exhaust and a carbon fiber aero kit. I can't say that rear wing is my cup of tea on the R8, but the rest of it is pretty cool.
The LMX launches this summer, but only 99 will be made because the world cannot live in a state of perpetual daytime. Everyone would have psychotic breakdowns, like in that one movie with Al Pacino. You know the one I'm talking about? I think Christopher Nolan directed it.