2021 Audi R8 Panther Edition Is a Rare Species of Sports Car
Just 30 of these rear-drive R8s are destined for America. The rest of the world can't have 'em.
The entry-level Audi R8 loses its all-wheel-drive system for 2021. The mid-engined model now sends its power exclusively to the rear wheels—a boon for drifting enthusiasts. (Don't worry, Audi still offers a 2021 R8 with all-wheel drive, however, consumers wanting that feature now have to spring for the pricier R8 Performance.) Now, Audi's catering to rear-drive R8 fans who want to stand out from the typical R8 pack with the stealthy Panther Edition.
The R8 Panther Edition is essentially a murdered-out version of Audi's 10-cylinder sports car. The model's exclusive Panther Black crystal is littered with metallic flakes, which gives the hue a unique sheen relative to that of Audi's typical Mythos Black paint. Additionally, the door mirrors, side blades, and engine cover are all done up in carbon fiber. Strangely, Audi opts not to complement those carbon fiber bits with carbon-ceramic brakes and instead fits the Panther Edition with steel discs.
Matte-black wheels with red accenting add a skosh of color to this special R8's exterior. The wheel's black-and-red theme makes its way to the interior, too, with seats covered in an almost blood-red leather and red accent stitching on the doors, dash, and the Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel (with a red marker at the top-center of the wheel added for good measure). A Bang & Olufsen stereo and Audi's virtual cockpit are here, too. Mechanically, though, the R8 Panther Edition mirrors that of the standard car, with its 5.2-liter V-10 engine making 532 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque. Audi claims the car dispatches the sprint to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds.
Just 30 R8 Panther Editions are earmarked for the United States. It's a U.S.-exclusive model, too, meaning the Panther Edition is one especially rare bird. But exclusivity isn't cheap, and the Panther Edition costs a cool $184,795—if it doesn't appeal to you, save $40,000 and drive off in a base R8. If it does, then you better act quick, because this limited-edition model is due to go on sale before the end of 2020.