The Audi R8 is one of the most exclusive and beautiful supercars in the world, commanding auto-lust wherever it goes and wherever it's seen. But what if you want an R8 but don't have the $105,000+ to buy one yourself? You could go through the arduous process of designing and building the whole thing from the ground up in your basement, but that would take 17 years. Who has the time? Why not just design an approximation of the R8 around a 2001 Mercury Cougar, fabricate it from fiberglass, and call it the ReplicaAudiR8?
Here's the thing about the ReplicaAudiR8 — we don't hate it. For being a front-engine, front-wheel-drive approximation of a mid-engined all-wheel-drive supercar it looks damn good. We find ourselves thinking it wouldn't be a terrible thing if an actual Audi looked like this. Sure some of the details need a little work, like the lack of inner fenders at the back, and an interior upgrade which goes beyond adding an "R8" badge to the steering wheel, but it's pretty slick looking. Lets take a look at the car side by side with its inspiration.
Let's get the first, and most obvious angle out of the way, the profile. Since the ReplicaAudiR8 is based on a front engine front wheel drive sporty hatchback, one would think the thing would look like a wreck from the side. Surprisingly though it's just not that bad. The sculpting works nicely and the car even integrates intake vents from the as-yet unrevealed Audi R8 V10. The lines running front to back are massaged a bit to camouflage the change in layout, but overall it's an impressive effort.
The rear makes the ReplicaAudiR8's lowly Cougar origins blatantly apparent with a much narrower track and a higher roofline. The rear vents are actually bigger on the Replica than on the real Audi, but it lacks the exhaust tips poking through the back bumper. The lower bumper is one of the few places on the car that's fairly awkward, but it's nothing compared to some of the stuff we've seen on Fiero specials.
The front three-quarter view is almost creepy in how much the cars look alike. If you didn't know better, you'd swear it was a Chinese rip-off and not a home-built replicar. The only dead giveaway is the treatment on the lower lip of the front bumper. We'll be honest here, we're split on which one actually looks better from this angle. Henkl and Udo will be miffed at us, but it's the truth.
The one area the ReplicaAudiR8 has nothing on the real R8 (aside from the engine, the transmission, the suspension, the wheels, the chassis etc.) is the interior. The stock Mercury Cougar interior remains largely untouched from the day the Ford line workers installed it. The addition of an "R8" badge to the wheel can't compete against the shiny stainless steel, Nav system, D-wheel and general awesomeness of the Audi R8 interior.
At the front end we see the proportions of the wide Audi is again interpreted pretty cleanly on the Cougar chassis. The intakes are again a bit deeper on the replicar, and that lower lip comes into a clearer focus. Take a note, the ReplicaAudiR8 gets thin-line fog lamps where the real Audi is lamp free. After all that, here's the big kicker: You can buy one of these if you live in Spain. The car was built by Alberto Gavach Fuertes of Zaragoza, Spain, who has a website dedicated to the car. Don't go to the site unless you want to scream bloody murder at the terrible website design, but on it, Alberto outlines the details on the car and tells us the price on this beauty: 40,000€ or about $50,000. This of course makes us wonder how fast the four-ring fellas will be slapping Al with a cease and desist, but that's for him to worry about. [Replica Audi R8, NECO Forums]