Audi continues to stay on the cutting edge of lighting technology, with the announcement that the first production laser lighting system will come equipped as standard on the limited-run 2014 Audi R8 LMX. Powerful laser high-beams are combined with LED low-beams, mirroring the technology seen on the Audi R18 e-tron quattro race car and Sport Quattro Laserlight concept.
As we saw on the Sport Quattro Laserlight concept that premiered at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, laser diodes are both smaller and brighter than LEDs. Audi says that one laser module, comprised of four laser diodes, can create a light beam with twice the range of an all-LED headlight. On the 2014 Audi R8 LMX, the laser high-beams aid LED high beams at speeds over 37.3 mph for increased visibility and range. The increased intensity of the light beam won’t blind other drivers, either, thanks to a camera-based sensor that will adjust the light pattern away from oncoming traffic.
In addition to the upgraded lighting technology, the 2014 Audi R8 LMX gets a slight power boost over the standard 550 hp on the V10 Plus model. The mid-mounted 5.2-liter V10 makes 562 hp, helping increase top speed 2.8 mph to a potent 198.8 mph. Torque remains at 398 lb-ft, and power is still delivered to all-four wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
The 2014 Audi R8 LMX will come exclusively in Ara Blue paint, with carbon fiber-reinforced polymer sideblades, fixed rear wing, and diffuser. Interior trappings include black Nappa leather and Alcantara with contrasting blue stitching on the seat backrests, center console, parking brake, and steering wheel.
Although the Audi R8 LMX will be the first production vehicle to receive laser lighting, BMW has announced that the upcoming 2014 BMW i8 will also adopt the technology. Audi will build only 99 units of the special, limited-edition 2014 Audi R8 LMX coupe, which will arrive on European roads this summer. Dealers in Germany are currently taking order for the supercar at a starting price of $289,000 (€210,000), a significant premium over the U.S. sticker price of $179,645 for a V10 Plus.