Audi debuted laser headlamps on its R8 LMX back in May 2014, but Americans are yet to see the light. Although they're perfectly legal in Europe, a law from 1968 means the tech can't be fitted to American cars without being heavily modified. The R8 V10 Plus Exclusive Edition is the first Audi to sport US-friendly laser headlamps, packed in with a long list of upgrades to the standard R8 package.
It might be the first Audi to adapt laser lights to the US market, but the R8 V10 Plus Exclusive Edition isn't the first car fitted with the technology in America. That honor goes to the BMW i8, which debuted its Laserlight system at last year's Los Angeles Auto Show.
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Around town, the car uses its regular LED headlamps, before defaulting to its laser system when the road is clear and the speedometer reads more than 40 mph (64 km/h). Each headlight is fitted with a laser module, made up of four high-intensity laser diodes that create a blue beam. This blue beam is then transformed into a bright, white light by a phosphor converter.
Based on the 601 hp (448 kW) R8 V10 Plus, the Exclusive Edition is designed to show the level of personalization on offer through Audi's "exclusive program." Although the body is painted Quantum Gray, the side-blades and grilles have been finished in a special shade of Titanium Black. There are also orange pinstripes on the side-blades, a theme which carries over into the cabin.
Opening the door reveals contrasted black and orange leather throughout, from the seats to the steering wheel. The headliner is trimmed in diamond-quilted Alcantara, and the luggage compartment has also been finished in the fancy microsuede material. Even the door sills have been given a makeover and are now finished in carbon fiber and backlit.
The exterior and cabin might have been tarted up, but nothing has changed under the skin. Power still comes from a 5.2-liter V10 engine with 601 hp (448 kW), and it's still put to the road through Audi's seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. The 100 km/h (62 mph) sprint takes just 3.2 seconds, and the top speed is pegged at 205 mph (330 km/h).
Just 25 examples of the Exclusive Edition will be built, with a starting price of US$229,200. You can check out the laser light technology in the video below.