Ah, the R8! Audi’s flagship supercar isn’t getting much love from customers in the United States. Only 97 of these naturally aspirated V10 machines were sold in the first quarter of the year. It’s a massive drop of 35 percent compared to Q1 2019, a decrease in 2020 R8 demand amplified by the coronavirus pandemic. The R8 will probably cease to exist in its current form in the coming years, with the next-gen car likely to adopt some form of electrification.
The more affordable alternative to the Lamborghini Huracan is by no means cheap, with the base version kicking off at $169,900 for the 2020 R8. Audi Wesley Chapel in Florida did a quick walkaround of this Daytona Gray beauty, reminding us of the supercar’s sharper looks gained with the mid-cycle facelift.
While this 2020 R8 isn’t the hotter Performance version, it’s not a bone-stock model either. We did a bit of digging and found out the car is actually for sale with a nice $11,373 discount. You can pick it up for $178,172, which is a lot less than the fully-loaded $214,995 Decennium special edition launched in early 2019.
Is there anything Audi could do to revitalize sales of its R8? One way to go would be by introducing a new entry-level variant without the glorious 5.2-liter FSI, but it’s too little, too late in the life cycle. The rumor mill kept saying the twin-turbo 2.9-liter V6 would make its way behind the R8’s seats, but it never happened. The six-cylinder derivative was thought to serve as a replacement for the old 4.2-liter V8 model, but the company ultimately decided against going down the turbocharging and downsizing route.
The return of the wonderful gated manual shifter could also lure in a few more buyers, but that wouldn’t be enough to justify the R&D investment. That’s especially true since its sister model from Sant’Agata Bolognese is also an automatic-only affair.
Audi took a step in the right direction by launching towards the end of 2019 a new rear-wheel-drive variant in Europe with a more attainable price tag, but the R8 RWD is still not available in the United States. On the Old Continent, it’s a permanent member of the lineup rather than a limited-run special edition its R8 RWS predecessor was. Much like the model it replaced, the tail-happy R8 comes in both Coupe and Spyder guises.