Photo: Audi

The safari trend is an understandable one. Take a car that is low and sporty and raise up the ride height so it can be fast and sporty on rough roads or off them entirely. Porsches have been caught up (lol), Ferraris have been caught up, but there’s one notable absence and I don’t understand it.


That is, of course, the consummate all-purpose, all-wheel-drive Audi R8. The whole point of being for the Audi R8 was to bring mid-engine style and design down to Porsche 911 pricing, with added usability from driven front and rear wheels. It was priced like a sports car, you could use it like a GT car, and it looked like a supercar. A hit.

Audi knew what it was doing when it shot this car... not on the road! From day one! Photo Credit: Audi

Audi has been making the R8 for roughly one gazillion years (production started in 2006, back when you could get your R8 with three pedals and eight cylinders) and in all of that time never once did it start selling people a real all-road capable R8. That is, one that has a ride height high enough to take a speed bump without slowing down, and with skid plates front and rear strong enough to take the consequences.

Audi did, of course, play around with the idea of a lifted R8-style car, showing the 2013 Audi Nanuk concept, a light rework of the ItalDesign Parkour. Did this car get put into production? No.

Pictured: The Audi Nanuk yearning for a world in which it was in production. Photo Credit: Audi

What’s more, I can’t even seem to find a single safari-style R8 online. You’d think some YouTuber would have made one by now, but all I can find are people doing light dirt work in stock-height R8s or that one skier dude running around in extra low ones just to taunt me.


C’mon y’all, the Reiger website is right here! Just click it and order some parts. I’m sure it’ll be fine.

It all just makes no sense. Even the most casual observer in America associates Audis with all-wheel-drive, and any young car nerd will recall Audis Group B Quattro rally cars. What am I missing?

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.

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