Instead of being incorporated into the radiator grille, the brand’s trademark four interlocking rings are positioned above it on the bonnet. This gives the front end an even more crouched appearance so that it seems to be hugging the road even more closely. The slender, sporty looking Audi single frame grille is flanked by two wide air inlets that form a key styling element. The striking headlight design makes the Audi R8 instantly recognizable, both day and night. The side blades, meanwhile, are one of the defining features when viewing the vehicle side on.
In 2006, with the Audi R8, Audi accessed a new segment. With several victories by the Le Mans Audi R8 racing prototypes, the name had associated itself with success. And with Lamborghini, which was acquired by the Audi group in 1998, Audi could share the know-how required to produce classy sports cars. Expertise in lightweight construction, achieved through the development of aluminum space frame technology for the Audi A8 and the Audi 2, had already gone into the construction of the 2003 Lamborghini Gallardo. Hence Ingolstadt saw a chance to use this construction to position an Audi in the mid-engine sports car segment. After all, even before WWII, Auto Union racing cars had already used center-mounted engines to bring home victories for the four-ring brand. There had been respective concepts with the Audi Avus Quattro or the Audi Quattro Spyder from 1991. But only with the acquisition of Lamborghini could the project be successfully implemented. Compared to the smooth and seamless design of the lighter Italian sports car, the Audi A8 features finer technical equipment and individual functional elements have much stronger visual emphasis. Thus, by putting a design emphasis on German engineering on the one hand and on Piedmontese elegance on the other, Audi was able to recover the development costs via the unit sales of both brands: an enormous image booster for Audi.